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Productivity Volatility and the Misallocation of Resources in Developing Economies

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  • Allan Collard-Wexler
  • John Asker
  • Jan De Loecker

Abstract

We investigate the role of dynamic production inputs and their associated adjustment costs in shaping the dispersion of total factor productivity (TFP) and static measures of capital misallocation within a country. Using data on 5,010 establishments in 33 developing countries from the World Bank's Enterprise Research Data, we find that countries exhibiting greater time-series volatility of productivity are also characterized by greater cross-sectional dispersion in productivity. Volatility in TFP explains one quarter to one third of cross-country productivity dispersion. We document a similar relationship between productivity volatility and the dispersion of the marginal revenue product of capital (static capital misallocation). We then use a standard model of investment with adjustment costs, parameterized using numbers calibrated to U.S. data, to show that increasing the volatility of productivity to the level observed in these developing economies can quantitatively replicate the observed relationship between static misallocation and volatility observed in the data. We find that sixty-one percent of the static capital misallocation in the data is captured by the model's prediction. Our findings suggest that the dynamic process governing productivity shocks is a first-order determinant of differences in misallocation and, hence, income across countries.
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Suggested Citation

  • Allan Collard-Wexler & John Asker & Jan De Loecker, 2011. "Productivity Volatility and the Misallocation of Resources in Developing Economies," Working Papers 11-13, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ste:nystbu:11-13
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    File URL: http://pages.stern.nyu.edu/~jasker/Prod.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jan De Loecker & Frederic Warzynski, 2012. "Markups and Firm-Level Export Status," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(6), pages 2437-2471, October.
    2. S.K. Bhutani, 2009. "China and India," India Quarterly: A Journal of International Affairs, , vol. 65(4), pages 383-391, October.
    3. Benjamin Moll, 2014. "Productivity Losses from Financial Frictions: Can Self-Financing Undo Capital Misallocation?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(10), pages 3186-3221, October.
    4. Nicholas Bloom, 2009. "The Impact of Uncertainty Shocks," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(3), pages 623-685, May.
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    7. Lucia Foster & John Haltiwanger & Chad Syverson, 2008. "Reallocation, Firm Turnover, and Efficiency: Selection on Productivity or Profitability?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 394-425, March.
    8. Mark Doms & Eric J. Bartelsman, 2000. "Understanding Productivity: Lessons from Longitudinal Microdata," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(3), pages 569-594, September.
    9. Diego Restuccia & Richard Rogerson, 2008. "Policy Distortions and Aggregate Productivity with Heterogeneous Plants," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(4), pages 707-720, October.
    10. Eric Bartelsman & John Haltiwanger & Stefano Scarpetta, 2013. "Cross-Country Differences in Productivity: The Role of Allocation and Selection," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(1), pages 305-334, February.
    11. Olley, G Steven & Pakes, Ariel, 1996. "The Dynamics of Productivity in the Telecommunications Equipment Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(6), pages 1263-1297, November.
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    14. Allan Collard-Wexler, 2010. "Productivity Dispersion and Plant Selection in the Ready-Mix Concrete Industry," 2010 Meeting Papers 105, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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    Cited by:

    1. Joel M. David & Hugo A. Hopenhayn & Venky Venkateswaran, 2016. "Information, Misallocation, and Aggregate Productivity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 131(2), pages 943-1005.
    2. Amit Gandhi & Salvador Navarro & David Rivers, 2011. "On the Identification of Production Functions: How Heterogeneous is Productivity?," University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP) Working Papers 20119, University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP).
    3. Paunov, Caroline & Rollo, Valentina, 2016. "Has the Internet Fostered Inclusive Innovation in the Developing World?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 587-609.
    4. Chris Edmond & Virgiliu Midrigan & Daniel Yi Xu, 2015. "Competition, Markups, and the Gains from International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(10), pages 3183-3221, October.
    5. Diego Restuccia & Richard Rogerson, 2013. "Misallocation and productivity," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(1), pages 1-10, January.
    6. Andrea Pozzi & Fabiano Schivardi, 2016. "Demand or productivity: what determines firm growth?," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 47(3), pages 608-630, August.
    7. Julieta Caunedo, 2013. "Industry Dynamics, Investment and Business Cycles," 2013 Meeting Papers 1078, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    8. repec:pri:cepsud:230deloecker is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Zheng (Michael) Song & Guiying (Laura) Wu, 2013. "A Structural Estimation on Capital Market Distortions in Chinese Manufacturing," Economic Growth Centre Working Paper Series 1306, Nanyang Technological University, School of Social Sciences, Economic Growth Centre.
    10. Marc J. Melitz & Sašo Polanec, 2015. "Dynamic Olley-Pakes productivity decomposition with entry and exit," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 46(2), pages 362-375, June.
    11. repec:eee:macchp:v2-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Benjamin Moll & Robert M. Townsend & Victor Zhorin, 2013. "Economic Development, Flow of Funds and the Equilibrium Interaction of Financial Frictions," NBER Working Papers 19618, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Peters, Michael, 2013. "Heterogeneous mark-ups, growth and endogenous misallocation," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 54254, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    14. Jones, C.I., 2016. "The Facts of Economic Growth," Handbook of Macroeconomics, Elsevier.
    15. Da Rocha Jose Maria & Pujolas Pau Salvador, 2011. "Policy Distortions and Aggregate Productivity: The Role of Idiosyncratic Shocks," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-36, November.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • L2 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior
    • 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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