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A Decomposition of U.S. Business Sector TFP Growth into Technical Progress and Cost Efficiency Components

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  • Diewert, W. Erwin
  • Fox, Kevin J.

Abstract

One of the problems with index number methods for computing TFP growth is that during recessions, these methods show declines in TFP and this seems to imply that technical progress is negative during these periods. This is rather implausible since it implies technological regress; i.e., that that the production frontier has contracted. The paper works out a nonparametric method where one can decompose TFP growth into two components: a technical progress component (i.e., a shift in the production frontier over time) and an inefficiency component that is due to the fixity of capital and labour in the short run. The new decomposition is illustrated using the new Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) Integrated Macroeconomic Accounts which facilitated the construction of a set of productivity accounts for two key sectors of the US private business sector: the Corporate Nonfinancial Sector and the Noncorporate Nonfinancial Sector. The analysis sheds light on productivity growth slowdowns over the period 1960 to 2014.

Suggested Citation

  • Diewert, W. Erwin & Fox, Kevin J., 2016. "A Decomposition of U.S. Business Sector TFP Growth into Technical Progress and Cost Efficiency Components," Microeconomics.ca working papers erwin_diewert-2016-8, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 30 Jun 2016.
  • Handle: RePEc:ubc:pmicro:erwin_diewert-2016-8
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    File URL: http://econ.sites.olt.ubc.ca/files/2016/06/pdf_paper_erwin-diewert-16-04DecompUSBusinessetc.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Diewert, W. Erwin & Fox, Kevin J., 2014. "Reference technology sets, Free Disposal Hulls and productivity decompositions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 122(2), pages 238-242.
    2. Chad Syverson, 2017. "Challenges to Mismeasurement Explanations for the US Productivity Slowdown," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 31(2), pages 165-186, Spring.
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    4. Diewert, W. Erwin, 2014. "Decompositions of profitability change using cost functions," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 183(1), pages 58-66.
    5. Chad Syverson, 2011. "What Determines Productivity?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(2), pages 326-365, June.
    6. 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.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Total Factor Productivity; user costs; measures of technical progress; measures of technical and allocative inefficiency; nonparametric cost functions;

    JEL classification:

    • C43 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Index Numbers and Aggregation
    • C61 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Optimization Techniques; Programming Models; Dynamic Analysis
    • C67 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Input-Output Models
    • C82 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Macroeconomic Data; Data Access
    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity

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