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Imports and Productivity

  • Laszlo Halpern


    (Macroeconomics Institute of Economics of Hungarian Academy of Sciences)

  • Miklos Koren
  • Adam Szeidl

What is the effect of imports on productivity? To answer this question, we estimate a structural model of producers using product-level import data for a panel of Hungarian manufacturing firms from 1992 to 2001. In our model with heterogenous firms, producers choose to import or purchase domestically varieties of intermediate inputs. Imports affect firm productivity through expanding variety as well as improved input quality. The model leads to a production function where the total factor productivity of a firm depends on the share of inputs imported. To estimate this import-augmented production function, we extend the Olley and Pakes (1996) procedure for a setting with an additional state variable, the number of input varieties imported. Our results suggest that the role of imports is both statistically and economically significant. Imports are responsible for 30% of the growth in aggregate total factor productivity in Hungary during the 1990s. About 50% of this effect is through imports advancing firm level productivity, while the remaining 50% comes from the reallocation of capital and labor to importers.

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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2006 Meeting Papers with number 796.

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Date of creation: 03 Dec 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:red:sed006:796
Contact details of provider: Postal: Society for Economic Dynamics Marina Azzimonti Department of Economics Stonybrook University 10 Nicolls Road Stonybrook NY 11790 USA
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  1. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen, 1997. "Exceptional Exporter Performance: Cause, Effect, or Both?," NBER Working Papers 6272, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. David H. Romer & Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1999. "Does Trade Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 379-399, June.
  3. Mary Amiti, 2000. "Trade Liberalisation of Intermediate Inputs," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 33(4), pages 299-302.
  4. Marc-Andreas Muendler, 2004. "Trade, Technology, and Productivity: A Study of Brazilian Manufacturers, 1986-1998," CESifo Working Paper Series 1148, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Peter K. Schott, 2005. "Importers, Exporters, and Multinationals: A Portrait of Firms in the U.S. that Trade Goods," NBER Working Papers 11404, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. David Hummels & Volodymyr Lugovskyy, 2005. "Trade in Ideal Varieties: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 11828, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. László Halpern & Miklós Koren, 2007. "Pricing to Firm: an Analysis of Firm- and Product-level Import Prices," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(3), pages 574-591, 08.
  8. James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 2000. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables," NBER Working Papers 7819, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Olley, G Steven & Pakes, Ariel, 1996. "The Dynamics of Productivity in the Telecommunications Equipment Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(6), pages 1263-97, November.
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