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Misallocation or Mismeasurement?

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  • Mark Bils
  • Peter J. Klenow
  • Cian Ruane

Abstract

The ratio of revenue to inputs differs greatly across plants within countries such as the U.S. and India. Such gaps may reflect misallocation which hinders aggregate productivity. But differences in measured average products need not reflect differences in true marginal products. We propose a way to estimate the gaps in true marginal products in the presence of measurement error. Our method exploits how revenue growth is less sensitive to input growth when a plant’s average products are overstated by measurement error. For Indian manufacturing from 1985-2013, our correction lowers potential gains from reallocation by 20%. For the U.S. the effect is even more dramatic, reducing potential gains by 60% and eliminating 2/3 of a severe downward trend in allocative efficiency over 1978-2013.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark Bils & Peter J. Klenow & Cian Ruane, 2020. "Misallocation or Mismeasurement?," NBER Working Papers 26711, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:26711
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Pedro Bento & Diego Restuccia, 2017. "Misallocation, Establishment Size, and Productivity," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 267-303, July.
    2. Yan Bai & Keyu Jin & Dan Lu, 2019. "Misallocation Under Trade Liberalization," NBER Working Papers 26188, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Audra Bowlus & Yuet-Yee Linda Wong, 2020. "The Millenials' Transition from School-to-Work," University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP) Working Papers 20201, University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP).
    2. Sara Calligaris & Massimo Del Gatto & Fadi Hassan & Gianmarco I P Ottaviano & Fabiano Schivardi & Tommaso MonacelliManaging Editor, 2018. "The productivity puzzle and misallocation: an Italian perspective," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 33(96), pages 635-684.
    3. Diego Restuccia, 2019. "Misallocation and aggregate productivity across time and space," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 52(1), pages 5-32, February.
    4. Besley, T. & Roland, I. & Van Reenen, J., 2019. "The Aggregate Consequences of Default Risk: Evidence from Firm-level Data," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 2061, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    5. Johannes Boehm & Ezra Oberfield, 2020. "Misallocation in the Market for Inputs: Enforcement and the Organization of Production," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 135(4), pages 2007-2058.
    6. Amit Gandhi & Salvador Navarro & David Rivers, 2017. "How Heterogeneous is Productivity? A Comparison of Gross Output and Value Added," University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP) Working Papers 201727, University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP).
    7. Simone Lenzu & Francesco Manaresi, 2019. "Sources and implications of resource misallocation: new evidence from firm-level marginal products and user costs," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 485, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence
    • O51 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - U.S.; Canada
    • O53 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Asia including Middle East

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