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Capital Misallocation: Frictions or Distortions?

Listed author(s):
  • Joel M. David
  • Venky Venkateswaran
Registered author(s):

    We study a model of investment in which both technological and informational frictions as well as institutional/policy distortions lead to capital misallocation, i.e., static marginal products are not equalized. We devise an empirical strategy to disentangle these forces using readily observable moments in firm-level data. Applying this methodology to manufacturing firms in China reveals that adjustment costs and uncertainty have significant aggregate consequences but account for only a modest share of the observed dispersion in the marginal product of capital. A substantial fraction of misallocation stems from firm-specific distortions, both productivity/size-dependent as well as permanent. For large US firms, adjustment costs are relatively more salient, though permanent firm-level factors remain important. These results are robust to the presence of liquidity/financial constraints.

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    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 23129.

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    Date of creation: Feb 2017
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23129
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    1. Eslava, Marcela & Haltiwanger, John & Kugler, Adriana & Kugler, Maurice, 2004. "The effects of structural reforms on productivity and profitability enhancing reallocation: evidence from Colombia," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 333-371, December.
    2. Tybout, James R. & Westbrook, M. Daniel, 1995. "Trade liberalization and the dimensions of efficiency change in Mexican manufacturing industries," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1-2), pages 53-78, August.
    3. Eslava, Marcela & Haltiwanger, John & Kugler, Adriana & Kugler, Maurice, 2004. "The effects of structural reforms on productivity and profitabality enhancing reallocation: evidence from Colombia," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 0408, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
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