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Productivity, welfare and reallocation : theory and firm-level evidence

Author

Listed:
  • Basu, Susanto
  • Pascali, Luigi
  • Schiantarelli, Fabio
  • Serven, Luis

Abstract

A considerable literature has focused on the determinants of total factor productivity (TFP), prompted by the empirical finding that TFP accounts for the bulk of long-term growth. This paper offers a deeper reason for such focus: the welfare of a representative consumer is summarized by current and anticipated future Solow productivity residuals. The equivalence holds for any specification of technology and market structure, as long as the representative household maximizes utility while taking prices parametrically. This result justifies total factor productivity as the right summary measure of welfare, even in situations where it does not properly measure technology, and makes it possible to calculate the contributions of disaggregated units (industries or firms) to aggregate welfare using readily available data. Based on this finding, the authors compute firm and industry contributions to welfare for a set of European countries (Belgium, France, Great Britain, Italy, Spain) using industry-level and firm-level data. With additional assumptions about technology and market structure (specifically, that firms minimize costs and face common factor prices), the authors show that welfare change can be further decomposed into three components that reflect, respectively, technical change, aggregate distortions, and allocative efficiency. Then, using the appropriate firm-level data, they assess the importance of each of these components as sources of welfare improvement in the same set of European countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Basu, Susanto & Pascali, Luigi & Schiantarelli, Fabio & Serven, Luis, 2010. "Productivity, welfare and reallocation : theory and firm-level evidence," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5226, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5226
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Martin L. Weitzman, 1976. "On the Welfare Significance of National Product in a Dynamic Economy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 90(1), pages 156-162.
    2. Amil Petrin & Jerome Reiter & Kirk White, 2011. "The Impact of Plant-level Resource Reallocations and Technical Progress on U.S. Macroeconomic Growth," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 14(1), pages 3-26, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Susanto Basu & Luigi Pascali & Fabio Schiantarelli & Luis Serven, 2012. "Productivity and the welfare of nations," Economics Working Papers 1312, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    2. Jae Sim & Egon Zakrajsek & Simon Gilchrist, 2010. "Uncertainty, Financial Frictions, and Investment Dynamics," 2010 Meeting Papers 1285, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. Eric J. Bartelsman & Zoltan Wolf, 2017. "Measuring Productivity Dispersion," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 17-033/VI, Tinbergen Institute.
    4. Chad Syverson, 2011. "What Determines Productivity?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(2), pages 326-365, June.
    5. Ariel Weinberger, 2015. "Markups and misallocation with trade and heterogeneous firms," Globalization Institute Working Papers 251, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
    6. G. Jacob Blackwood & Lucia S. Foster & Cheryl A. Grim & John Haltiwanger & Zoltan Wolf, 2021. "Macro and Micro Dynamics of Productivity: From Devilish Details to Insights," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 13(3), pages 142-172, July.
    7. Sophie Osotimehin, 2019. "Aggregate productivity and the allocation of resources over the business cycle," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 32, pages 180-205, April.
    8. Albert Bollard & Peter Klenow & Gunjam Sharma, 2013. "India's Mysterious Manufacturing Miracle," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(1), pages 59-85, January.
    9. David Zeke & Robert Kurtzman, 2016. "Accounting for Productivity Dispersion over the Business Cycle," 2016 Meeting Papers 482, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    10. Michel Dumont, 2011. "Working Paper 11-11 - A decomposition of industry-level productivity growth in Belgium using firm-level data," Working Papers 1111, Federal Planning Bureau, Belgium.
    11. Guido Sandleris & Mark L. J. Wright, 2014. "The Costs of Financial Crises: Resource Misallocation, Productivity, and Welfare in the 2001 Argentine Crisis," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 116(1), pages 87-127, January.
    12. Susanto Basu & Luigi Pascali & Fabio Schiantarelli & Luis Serven, 2012. "Productivity and the Welfare of Nations," Working Papers 621, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    13. Ezra Oberfield, 2011. "Productivity and Misallocation During a Crisis," 2011 Meeting Papers 1328, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    14. John R. Baldwin & Wulong Gu & Beiling Yan, 2013. "Export Growth, Capacity Utilization, and Productivity Growth: Evidence from the Canadian Manufacturing Plants," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 59(4), pages 665-688, December.
    15. Sophie Osotimehin, 2019. "Aggregate productivity and the allocation of resources over the business cycle," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 32, pages 180-205, April.
    16. Susanto Basu & Luigi Pascali & Fabio Schiantarelli & Luis Serven, 2012. "Productivity and the Welfare of Nations," Working Papers 621, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    17. Biewen, Martin & Weiser, Constantin, 2011. "A New Approach to Testing Marginal Productivity Theory," IZA Discussion Papers 6113, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    18. Albert Bollard & Peter Klenow & Gunjam Sharma, 2013. "India's Mysterious Manufacturing Miracle," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(1), pages 59-85, January.
    19. Koetter, Michael, 2013. "Market structure and competition in German banking: Modules I and IV," Working Papers 06/2013, German Council of Economic Experts / Sachverständigenrat zur Begutachtung der gesamtwirtschaftlichen Entwicklung.
    20. Daniel Gonçalves & Ana Martins, 2016. "The Determinants of TFP Growth in the Portuguese Manufacturing Sector," GEE Papers 0062, Gabinete de Estratégia e Estudos, Ministério da Economia, revised Nov 2016.
    21. Charles I. Jones & Peter J. Klenow, 2016. "Beyond GDP? Welfare across Countries and Time," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(9), pages 2426-2457, September.
    22. Lucia S. Foster & Cheryl A. Grim & John Haltiwanger & Zoltan Wolf, 2017. "Macro and Micro Dynamics of Productivity: From Devilish Details to Insights," NBER Working Papers 23666, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    23. Inklaar, Robert & Koetter, Michael & Noth, Felix, 2015. "Bank market power, factor reallocation, and aggregate growth," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 19(C), pages 31-44.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Economic Theory&Research; E-Business; Economic Growth; Labor Policies; Technology Industry;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • D90 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - General
    • E20 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • 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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