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Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables

  • James Levinsohn
  • Amil Petrin

We introduce a new method for conditioning out serially correlated unobserved shocks to the production technology by building ideas first developed in Olley and Pakes (1996). Olley and Pakes show how to use investment to control for correlation between input levels and the unobserved firm-specific productivity process. We prove that like investment, intermediate inputs (those inputs which are typically subtracted out in a value-added production function) can also solve this simultaneity problem. We highlight three potential advantages to using an intermediate inputs approach relative to investment. Our results indicate that these advantages are empirically important.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7819.

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Date of creation: Aug 2000
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Publication status: published as Levinsohn, James and Amil Petrin. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs To Control For Unobservables," Review of Economic Studies, 2003, v70(2,Apr), 317-341.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7819
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  1. Z, Griliches & Jacques Mairesse, 1997. "Production Functions : The Search for Identification," Working Papers 97-30, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  2. Ariel Pakes & Steven Olley, 1994. "A Limit Theorem for a Smooth Class of Semiparametric Estimators," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1066, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  3. Roberts, Mark J & Tybout, James R, 1997. "The Decision to Export in Colombia: An Empirical Model of Entry with Sunk Costs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 545-64, September.
  4. George S Olley & Ariel Pakes, 1992. "The Dynamics Of Productivity In The Telecommunications Equipment Industry," Working Papers 92-2, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  5. Levinsohn, J. & Petrin, A., 1999. "When Industries Become More Productive, Do Firms?: Investigating Productivity Dynamics," Working Papers 445, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  6. Tybout, James & de Melo, Jaime & Corbo, Vittorio, 1990. "The effects of trade reforms on scale and technical efficiency : new evidence from Chile," Policy Research Working Paper Series 481, The World Bank.
  7. Timothy Dunne & Mark J. Roberts & Larry Samuelson, 1988. "Patterns of Firm Entry and Exit in U.S. Manufacturing Industries," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 19(4), pages 495-515, Winter.
  8. James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 1999. "When Industries Become More Productive, Do Firms?," NBER Working Papers 6893, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Susanto Basu & John G. Fernald, 1995. "Are Apparent Productive Spillovers a Figment of Specification Error?," NBER Working Papers 5073, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. repec:fth:michin:445 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Robinson, Peter M, 1988. "Root- N-Consistent Semiparametric Regression," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(4), pages 931-54, July.
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