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Acquisitions, Productivity, and Profitability: Evidence from the Japanese Cotton Spinning Industry

  • Serguey Braguinsky
  • Atsushi Ohyama
  • Tetsuji Okazaki
  • Chad Syverson

We explore how changes in ownership and managerial control affect the productivity and profitability of producers. Using detailed operational, financial, and ownership data from the Japanese cotton spinning industry at the turn of the last century, we find a more nuanced picture than the straightforward "higher productivity buys lower productivity" story commonly appealed to in the literature. Acquired firms' production facilities were not on average less physically productive than the plants of the acquiring firms before acquisition, conditional on operating. They were much less profitable, however, due to consistently higher inventory levels and lower capacity utilization--differences which reflected problems in managing the uncertainties of demand. When purchased by more profitable firms, these less profitable acquired plants saw drops in inventories and gains in capacity utilization that raised both their productivity and profitability levels, consistent with acquiring owner/managers spreading their better demand management abilities across the acquired capital.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19901.

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Date of creation: Feb 2014
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19901
Note: CF DEV IO PR
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  1. Gordon M Phillips & Vojislav Maksimovic, 1999. "The Market for Corporate Assets: Who Engages in Mergers and Asset Sales and are there Efficiency Gains?," Working Papers 99-12, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  2. Foster, Lucia & Haltiwanger, John C. & Syverson, Chad, 2005. "Reallocation, Firm Turnover, and Efficiency: Selection on Productivity or Profitability?," IZA Discussion Papers 1705, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Miwa, Yoshiro & Ramseyer, J Mark, 2000. "Corporate Governance in Transitional Economies: Lessons from the Prewar Japanese Cotton Textile Industry," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(1), pages 171-203, January.
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  14. Atsushi Ohyama & Serguey Braguinsky & Kevin M. Murphy, 2004. "Entrepreneurial Ability and Market Selection in an Infant Industry: Evidence from the Japanese Cotton Spinning Industry," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 7(2), pages 354-381, April.
  15. Richard Blundell & Steve Bond, 1995. "Initial conditions and moment restrictions in dynamic panel data models," IFS Working Papers W95/17, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  16. Robert H. McGuckin & Sang V. Nguyen, 1995. "On Productivity and Plant Ownership Change: New Evidence from the Longitudinal Research Database," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(2), pages 257-276, Summer.
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  18. Joel David, 2012. "The Aggregate Implications of Mergers and Acquisitions," 2012 Meeting Papers 1178, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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