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On the Identification of Production Functions: How Heterogeneous is Productivity?

The estimation of production functions suffers from an unresolved identification problem caused by flexible inputs, such as intermediate inputs. We develop an identification strategy for production functions based on a transformation of the firm’s short-run first order condition that solves the problem for both gross output and value-added production functions. We apply our approach to plant-level data from Colombia and Chile, and find that a gross output production function implies fundamentally different patterns of productivity heterogeneity than a value-added specification. This finding is consistent with our analysis of the bias induced by the use of value-added.

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Paper provided by University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP) in its series University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP) Working Papers with number 20119.

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Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:uwo:hcuwoc:20119
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP), Social Science Centre, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada N6A 5C2

Phone: 519-661-2111 Ext.85244
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  1. Joel Rodrigue & Hiroyuki Kasahara, 2004. "Does the Use of Imported Intermediates Increase Productivity? Plant-Level Evidence," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 511, Econometric Society.
  2. Chad Syverson, 2004. "Market Structure and Productivity: A Concrete Example," NBER Working Papers 10501, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Sofronis K. Clerides & Saul Lach & James R. Tybout, 1998. "Is Learning by Exporting Important? Micro-Dynamic Evidence from Colombia, Mexico, and Morocco," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(3), pages 903-947.
  4. Allan Collard-Wexler, 2010. "Productivity Dispersion and Plant Selection in the Ready-Mix Concrete Industry," 2010 Meeting Papers 105, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  5. Sanghamitra Das & Mark J. Roberts & James R. Tybout, 2007. "Market Entry Costs, Producer Heterogeneity, and Export Dynamics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(3), pages 837-873, 05.
  6. Susanne Schennach & James Heckman & Flavio Cunha, 2007. "Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," 2007 Meeting Papers 973, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. Carlos Pombo, 1999. "Productividad industrial en Colombia: Una aplicación de números índices," REVISTA DE ECONOMÍA DEL ROSARIO, UNIVERSIDAD DEL ROSARIO, June.
  8. Blundell, R. & Bond, S., 1995. "Initial Conditions and Moment Restrictions in Dynamic Panel Data Models," Economics Papers 104, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  9. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Peter J. Klenow, 2009. "Misallocation and Manufacturing TFP in China and India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(4), pages 1403-1448.
  10. James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 2003. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(2), pages 317-341.
  11. Allan Collard-Wexler & John Asker & Jan De Loecker, 2011. "Productivity Volatility and the Misallocation of Resources in Developing Economies," NBER Working Papers 17175, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Denny, Michael & May, Doug, 1977. "The existence of a real value-added function in the Canadian manufacturing sector," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 55-69, January.
  13. Jan De Loecker, 2011. "Product Differentiation, Multiproduct Firms, and Estimating the Impact of Trade Liberalization on Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(5), pages 1407-1451, 09.
  14. Ackerberg, Daniel & Lanier Benkard, C. & Berry, Steven & Pakes, Ariel, 2007. "Econometric Tools for Analyzing Market Outcomes," Handbook of Econometrics, in: J.J. Heckman & E.E. Leamer (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 6, chapter 63 Elsevier.
  15. Ackerberg, Daniel & Caves, Kevin & Frazer, Garth, 2006. "Structural identification of production functions," MPRA Paper 38349, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  16. Jeremy T. Fox & Valérie Smeets, 2011. "Does Input Quality Drive Measured Differences In Firm Productivity?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 52(4), pages 961-989, November.
  17. Raphael Bergoeing & Andrés Hernando & Andrea Repetto, 2003. "Idiosyncratic Productivity Shocks and Plant-Level Heterogeneity," Documentos de Trabajo 173, Centro de Economía Aplicada, Universidad de Chile.
  18. Nina Pavcnik, 2000. "Trade Liberalization, Exit, and Productivity Improvements: Evidence from Chilean Plants," NBER Working Papers 7852, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Manuel Arellano & Stephen Bond, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(2), pages 277-297.
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