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Assessing Economic Performance among North American Manufacturing Establishments, 1870/71: Data, Methodology and Measurement Issues

Author

Listed:
  • Kris Inwood

    () (University of Guelph)

  • Ian Keay

    () (Queen's University)

Abstract

A number of conceptually robust and empirically practical approaches are available to assess relative economic performance among producers who operate on either side of an international border. In this paper we discuss the impact that data compilation, methodological choice, and variable definitions may have on the quantitative and qualitative assessment of cross-border performance comparisons. As an illustrative example we use manuscript census data from 1870/71 to compare total factor productivity (TFP) among a sample of manufacturing establishments located along the Canada-US border. We briefly discuss issues associated with the preparation of manuscript census data for the measurement of cross-border TFP differentials and the establishment of industry selection criteria. We also review TFP measurement techniques, such as growth accounting calculations, cost and production function index number approaches, and econometric estimation. However, the central focus of the paper is an investigation of the impact that variable definitions have on our assessment of TFP performance. In particular, we probe the relationship between the size of cross-border TFP differentials and the reliance on a variety of common definitions for labour, capital, output, input weights, and prices.

Suggested Citation

  • Kris Inwood & Ian Keay, 2006. "Assessing Economic Performance among North American Manufacturing Establishments, 1870/71: Data, Methodology and Measurement Issues," Working Papers 1030, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:qed:wpaper:1030
    as

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    File URL: http://qed.econ.queensu.ca/working_papers/papers/qed_wp_1030.pdf
    File Function: First version 2006
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Caves, Douglas W & Christensen, Laurits R, 1980. "The Relative Efficiency of Public and Private Firms in a Competitive Environment: The Case of Canadian Railroads," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(5), pages 958-976, October.
    2. Goldin, Claudia & Sokoloff, Kenneth, 1982. "Women, Children, and Industrialization in the Early Republic: Evidence from the Manufacturing Censuses," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 42(04), pages 741-774, December.
    3. Diewert, W. E., 1976. "Exact and superlative index numbers," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 115-145, May.
    4. Tchakerian, Viken, 1994. "Productivity, Extent of Markets, and Manufacturing in the Late Antebellum South and Midwest," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 54(03), pages 497-525, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    Cited by:

    1. Michael N.A. Hinton, 2012. "Infant Industry Protection and the Growth of Canada's Cotton Mills: A Test of the Chang Hypothesis," Working Paper series 55_12, Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis.
    2. Michael Hinton, 2011. "Was Canadian Manufacturing Inefficient before WWI? The Case of the Cotton Textile Industry, 1870-1910," Working Paper series 44_11, Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Productivity Measurement; International Performance Comparisons; North American Industrialization;

    JEL classification:

    • N01 - Economic History - - General - - - Development of the Discipline: Historiographical; Sources and Methods
    • N61 - Economic History - - Manufacturing and Construction - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence

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