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Decompositions of Profitability Change using Cost Functions

  • Diewert, Erwin

Profitability at a period of time is defined as the value of outputs produced by a production unit divided by the corresponding cost. Using some earlier work by O’Donnell, the paper provides a decomposition of profitability growth over two periods into various explanatory factors. The explanatory factors are: the change in the production unit’s cost efficiency, an index of output price growth, returns to scale, technical progress and an index of input price growth. If output prices for the production unit are not available, the paper suggests that marginal costs could be used as prices to weight outputs in each period. Using marginal or average costs to weight outputs leads to a methodology for evaluating the productivity performance of nonmarket production units that is similar to the methodology suggested in the Atkinson report.

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File URL: http://microeconomics.ca/erwin_diewert/dp1007.pdf
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Paper provided by Vancouver School of Economics in its series Economics working papers with number erwin_diewert-2010-16.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: 12 May 2010
Date of revision: 13 Jul 2010
Handle: RePEc:ubc:bricol:erwin_diewert-2010-16
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.economics.ubc.ca/

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  1. Hanoch, Giora & Rothschild, Michael, 1972. "Testing the Assumptions of Production Theory: A Nonparametric Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(2), pages 256-75, March-Apr.
  2. W. Diewert, 2011. "Measuring productivity in the public sector: some conceptual problems," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 36(2), pages 177-191, October.
  3. Diewert, W. Erwin & Fox, Kevin J., 2008. "On the estimation of returns to scale, technical progress and monopolistic markups," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 145(1-2), pages 174-193, July.
  4. Panzar, John C & Willig, Robert D, 1977. "Economies of Scale in Multi-Output Production," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 91(3), pages 481-93, August.
  5. Christopher J. O'Donnell, 2010. "Measuring and decomposing agricultural productivity and profitability change ," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 54(4), pages 527-560, October.
  6. Diewart, W Erwin & Morrison, Catherine J, 1986. "Adjusting Output and Productivity Indexes for Changes in the Terms of Trade," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 96(383), pages 659-79, September.
  7. Førsund, Finn R. & Hjalmarsson, Lennart, 1983. "Technical Progress and Structural Change in the Swedish Cement Industry 1955 - 1979," Working Paper Series 98, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  8. W. Diewert & Alice Nakamura, 2003. "Index Number Concepts, Measures and Decompositions of Productivity Growth," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 127-159, April.
  9. Bert Balk, 2001. "Scale Efficiency and Productivity Change," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 159-183, May.
  10. McFadden, Daniel, 1978. "Cost, Revenue, and Profit Functions," Histoy of Economic Thought Chapters, in: Fuss, Melvyn & McFadden, Daniel (ed.), Production Economics: A Dual Approach to Theory and Applications, volume 1, chapter 1 McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought.
  11. Bert Balk, 2003. "The Residual: On Monitoring and Benchmarking Firms, Industries, and Economies with Respect to Productivity," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 20(1), pages 5-47, July.
  12. W. Diewert & Kevin Fox, 2010. "Malmquist and Törnqvist productivity indexes: returns to scale and technical progress with imperfect competition," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 101(1), pages 73-95, September.
  13. Robert B. Archibald, 1977. "On the Theory of Industrial Price Measurement Output Price Indexes," NBER Chapters, in: Annals of Economic and Social Measurement, Volume 6, number 1, pages 57-72 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. W. Erwin Diewert, 1980. "Aggregation Problems in the Measurement of Capital," NBER Chapters, in: The Measurement of Capital, pages 433-538 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Varian, Hal R, 1984. "The Nonparametric Approach to Production Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 579-97, May.
  16. Diewert, W.E., 1993. "Duality approaches to microeconomic theory," Handbook of Mathematical Economics, in: K. J. Arrow & M.D. Intriligator (ed.), Handbook of Mathematical Economics, edition 4, volume 2, chapter 12, pages 535-599 Elsevier.
  17. C.J. O'Donnell, 2008. "An aggregate quantity-price framework for measuring and Decomposing productivity and profitability change," CEPA Working Papers Series WP072008, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
  18. Afriat, Sidney N, 1972. "Efficiency Estimation of Production Function," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 13(3), pages 568-98, October.
  19. Samuelson, Paul A & Swamy, S, 1974. "Invariant Economic Index Numbers and Canonical Duality: Survey and Synthesis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(4), pages 566-93, September.
  20. Fare, Rolf & Knox Lovell, C. A., 1978. "Measuring the technical efficiency of production," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 150-162, October.
  21. Kholi, U. & Fox, K., 1996. "GDP Growth, Terms-of-Trade Effects and Total Factor Productivity," Papers 96/28, New South Wales - School of Economics.
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