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Biases in approximating log production


  • Sun, Kai
  • Henderson, Daniel J.
  • Kumbhakar, Subal C.


Most empirical work in economic growth assumes either a Cobb-Douglas production function expressed in logs or a log-approximated constant elasticity of substitution specification. Estimates from each are likely biased due to logging the model and the latter can also suffer from approximation bias. We illustrate this with a successful replication of Masanjala and Papagerogiou (2004) and then estimate both models in levels to avoid these biases. Our estimation in levels gives results in line with conventional wisdom.

Suggested Citation

  • Sun, Kai & Henderson, Daniel J. & Kumbhakar, Subal C., 2010. "Biases in approximating log production," MPRA Paper 27527, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:27527

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. John Duffy & Chris Papageorgiou & Fidel Perez-Sebastian, 2004. "Capital-Skill Complementarity? Evidence from a Panel of Countries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 327-344, February.
    2. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1992. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 407-437.
    3. Byron, Ray P & Bera, Anil K, 1983. "Least Squares Approximations to Unknown Regression Functions: A Comment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 24(1), pages 255-260, February.
    4. Duffy, John & Papageorgiou, Chris, 2000. "A Cross-Country Empirical Investigation of the Aggregate Production Function Specification," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 87-120, March.
    5. Cameron,A. Colin & Trivedi,Pravin K., 2008. "Microeconometrics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9787111235767, March.
    6. J. M. C. Santos Silva & Silvana Tenreyro, 2006. "The Log of Gravity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(4), pages 641-658, November.
    7. Backus, David & Henriksen, Espen & Storesletten, Kjetil, 2008. "Taxes and the global allocation of capital," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 48-61, January.
    8. Rainer Klump & Peter McAdam & Alpo Willman, 2007. "Factor Substitution and Factor-Augmenting Technical Progress in the United States: A Normalized Supply-Side System Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(1), pages 183-192, February.
    9. Thursby, Jerry G & Lovell, C A Knox, 1978. "An Investigation of the Kmenta Approximation to the CES Function," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 19(2), pages 363-377, June.
    10. Gourieroux, Christian & Monfort, Alain & Trognon, Alain, 1984. "Pseudo Maximum Likelihood Methods: Applications to Poisson Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 701-720, May.
    11. repec:lsu:lsuwpp:2003-12 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Winford H. Masanjala & Chris Papageorgiou, 2004. "The Solow model with CES technology: nonlinearities and parameter heterogeneity," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(2), pages 171-201.
    13. Papke, Leslie E & Wooldridge, Jeffrey M, 1996. "Econometric Methods for Fractional Response Variables with an Application to 401(K) Plan Participation Rates," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(6), pages 619-632, Nov.-Dec..
    14. Temple, Jonathan R. W., 2001. "Generalizations that aren't? Evidence on education and growth," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 905-918, May.
    15. Manning, Willard G. & Mullahy, John, 2001. "Estimating log models: to transform or not to transform?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 461-494, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Prehn, Sören & Brümmer, Bernhard, 2011. "Estimation issues in disaggregate gravity trade models," DARE Discussion Papers 1107, Georg-August University of Göttingen, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development (DARE).
    2. María Pía Olivero & Yoto V. Yotov, 2012. "Dynamic gravity: endogenous country size and asset accumulation," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 45(1), pages 64-92, February.
    3. Henningsen, Arne & Henningsen, Géraldine, 2012. "On estimation of the CES production function—Revisited," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 115(1), pages 67-69.
    4. T.V.S.Ramamohan Rao, 2011. "Contemporary Relevance and Ongoing Controversies Related to the CES Production Function," Journal of Quantitative Economics, The Indian Econometric Society, vol. 9(2), pages 36-57, July.

    More about this item


    Nonparametric; Kmenta Approximation; Levels; Logs; PPML;

    JEL classification:

    • C13 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Estimation: General
    • O4 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity
    • C01 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - General - - - Econometrics

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