nep-eff New Economics Papers
on Efficiency and Productivity
Issue of 2006‒08‒26
seventeen papers chosen by
Angelo Zago
Universita degli Studi di Verona

  1. Relative sources of European regional productivity convergence: A bootstrap frontier approach By Enflo, Kerstin; Hjertstrand, Per
  2. Information Technology and The World Growth Resurgence By Dale W. Jorgenson; Khuong Vu
  3. Labour Productivity in Iran By Valadkhani, Abbas
  4. Cross-Border Acquisitions and Target Firms' Performance: Evidence From Japanese Firm-Level Data By Kyoji Fukao; Keiko Ito; Hyeog Ug Kwon; Miho Takizawa
  5. A Panel Unit Root and Panel Cointegration Test of the Complementarity Hypothesis in the Mexican Case, 1960-2001 By Miguel D. Ramirez
  6. Understanding the Long-Term Growth Performance of the East European and CIS Economies By Rumen Dobrinsky; Dieter Hesse; Rolf Traeger
  7. Efficiency analysis in the presence of uncertainty By Chris OÕDonnell; Robert G. Chambers; John Quiggin
  8. Business Environment and Comparative Advantage in Africa: Evidence from the Investment Climate Data By Benn Eifert; Alan Gelb; Vijaya Ramachandran
  9. The Effect of New Business Formation on Regional Development over Time: The Case of Germany By Michael Fritsch; Pamela Mueller
  10. Growth Accounting for a Follower-Economy in a World of Ideas: The Example of Singapore By Kong Weng Ho; Hian Teck Hoon
  11. Learning-by-Producing and the Geographic Links Between Invention and Production: Experience From the Second Industrial Revolution By Dhanoos Sutthiphisal
  12. Schooling Externalities, Technology and Productivity: Theory and Evidence from U.S. States By Giovanni Peri
  13. Agriculture and Pro-Poor Growth: An Asian Perspective By Peter Timmer
  14. ICT-Producing Sector on Business Activity By Hoon Hian Teck; Edmund S. Phelps
  15. Sources of Economic Growth in South Korea: An Application of the ARDL Analysis in the Presence of Structural Breaks - 1980-2005 By Harvie, Charles; Pahlavani, Mosayeb
  16. Euro-Productivity and Euro-Jobs since the 1960s: Which Institutions Really Mattered? By Gayle Allard; Peter H. Lindert
  17. On the Consequences of Demographic Change for Rates of Returns to Capital, and the Distribution of Wealth and Welfare By Dirk Krueger; Alexander Ludwig

  1. By: Enflo, Kerstin (Department of Economic History); Hjertstrand, Per (Department of Economics, Lund University)
    Abstract: We address the issue of Western European regional productivity growth and convergence by means of Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA), decomposing labor productivity into efficiency change, technical change and capital accumulation. The decomposition shows that most regions have fallen behind the production frontier in efficiency and that capital accumulation has had a diverging effect on the labor productivity distribution. We also account for the inherent bias and the stochastic elements in the efficiency estimation using bootstrapping methods. We find that the relative ranking of the bias-corrected efficiency scores remains stable after the bias correction and that the DEA successfully identifies the regions on the production frontier as significantly more efficient than other regions.
    Keywords: Bootstrap; DEA; Efficiency; Regional Convergence
    JEL: C14 C15 O47 R11
    Date: 2006–08–14
  2. By: Dale W. Jorgenson; Khuong Vu
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the impact of investment in information technology (IT) on the recent resurgence of world economic growth. We describe the growth of the world economy, seven regions, and fourteen major economies during the period 1989-2004. We allocate the growth of world output between input growth and productivity and find, surprisingly, that input growth greatly predominates! Moreover, differences in per capita output levels are explained by differences in per capita input, rather than variations in productivity. The contributions of IT investment have increased in all regions, but especially in industrialized economies and Developing Asia.
    Keywords: growth, investment, productivity, information technology
    JEL: O47
    Date: 2006–08
  3. By: Valadkhani, Abbas (University of Wollongong)
    Abstract: This study presents a model capturing sources of Iranian aggregate labour productivity using annual time series data from 1960 to 2002. Labour productivity in this model is determined by real net capital stock, information technology and telecommunications (ITT) and trade openness. Empirical estimates indicate that policies aimed at promoting various types of investment and trade openness, which generates technology spillovers, can improve labour productivity. A substantial rise in productivity can not be achieved unless the economy increases its stock of capital in both ITT and non-ITT sectors, and industrial protectionist policies are reversed.
    Keywords: Labour productivity, Economic growth, Iran
    JEL: C22 N15 O47
    Date: 2006
  4. By: Kyoji Fukao; Keiko Ito; Hyeog Ug Kwon; Miho Takizawa
    Abstract: Using Japanese firm-level data for the period from 1994-2002, this paper examines whether a firm is chosen as an acquisition target based on its productivity level, profitability and other characteristics and whether the performance of Japanese firms that were acquired by foreign firms improves after the acquisition. In our previous study for the Japanese manufacturing sector, we found that M&As by foreigners brought a larger and quicker improvement in total factor productivity (TFP) and profit rates than M&As by domestic firms. However, it may argued that firms acquired by foreign firms showed better performance simply because foreign investors acquired more promising Japanese firms than Japanese investors did. In order to address this potential problem of selection bias problem, in this study we combine a difference-in-differences approach with propensity score matching. The basic idea of matching is that we look for firms that were not acquired by foreign firms but had similar characteristics to firms that were acquired by foreigners. Using these firms as control subjects and comparing the acquired firms and the control subjects, we examine whether firms acquired by foreigners show a greater improvement in performance than firms not acquired by foreigners. Both results from unmatched samples and matched samples show that foreign acquisitions improved target firms’ productivity and profitability significantly more and quicker than acquisitions by domestic firms. Moreover, we find that there is no positive impact on target firms’ profitability in the case of both within-group in-in acquisitions and in-in acquisitions by domestic outsiders. In fact, in the manufacturing sector, the return on assets even deteriorated one year and two years after within-group in-in acquisition, while the TFP growth rate was higher after within-group in-in acquisitions than after in-in acquisitions by outsiders. Our results imply that in the case of within-group in-in acquisitions, parent firms may be trying to quickly restructure acquired firms even at the cost of deteriorating profitability.
    JEL: C14 D24 F21 F23
    Date: 2006–08
  5. By: Miguel D. Ramirez (Department of Economics, Trinity College)
    Abstract: Using panel data, this paper tests whether public and private capital have a positive and significant effect on aggregate output and labor productivity for Mexico during the 1960-2001 period. The richer information set made possible by the sectorial data enables this study to utilize the methodologically sound “group-mean” Fully Modified Ordinary Least Squares (FMOLS) procedure developed by Pedroni to generate consistent estimates of the relevant panel variables in the cointegrated production (labor productivity) function. The results suggest that, in the long run, changes in the stocks of public and private capital and the economically active population (EAP) have a positive and economically significant effect on output ( and labor productivity). The period is also broken down into two sub-periods: 1960-81 (state-led industrialization) and 1982-2001 (neoliberal model). The estimate for the public capital variables clearly shows that it had a relatively more important economic effect during the earlier state-led period.
    Keywords: Fully Modified Ordinary Least Squares (FMOLS), Panel Unit Roots, Panel Cointegration Test, Complementarity Hypothesis, Mexican Labor Productivity
    JEL: O10 O50 O40
    Date: 2006–08
  6. By: Rumen Dobrinsky (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe); Dieter Hesse (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe); Rolf Traeger (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe)
    Abstract: The paper analyses the determinants of long-term economic performance of east European and CIS economies in two periods: 1960-1989 (the era of central planning) and 1990-2005 (the transition to the market economy system). Throughout the 1960s and 1970s economic growth in eastern Europe progressively weakened and during the 1980s most of these economies plunged into a prolonged stagnation or recession, which contributed to the collapse of communism and central planning. The transition from plan to market began with the transformational recession, which persisted until the mid-1990s in eastern Europe, but was longer and deeper in the CIS. Since then, the east European and CIS economies have embarked on a path of strong economic growth. The recovery has been accompanied by a surge in fixed investment, often complemented by large inflows of FDI. Despite robust output growth, however, there has not been - at least so far - a noteworthy recovery in employment. The main feature of the recent strong economic growth in the region has been a remarkable upturn in both labour productivity and total factor productivity. The considerable gains in productive efficiency and rapid technological change were triggered by wide-ranging market reforms and the modernization of the capital stock. Gains in aggregate output per person employed have outpaced by a large margin increases in real GDP per capita. In terms of average productivity and real per capita income levels relative to those of the more developed, industrialized countries, the east European and CIS economies still face a long catching up process.
    Keywords: economic growth, East Europe, CIS, transition economies
    JEL: O11 O47 O52 E22 E24 J24 N14
  7. By: Chris OÕDonnell (University of Queensland); Robert G. Chambers (Dept of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Maryland, College Park); John Quiggin (Department of Economics, University of Queensland)
    Abstract: In a stochastic decision environment, differences in information can lead rational decision makers facing the same stochastic technology and the same markets to make different production choices. Efficiency and productivity measurement in such a setting can be seriously and systematically biased by the manner in which the stochastic technology is represented. For example, conventional production frontiers implicitly impose the restriction that information differences have no effect on the way risk-neutral decision makers utilize the same input bundle. The result is that rational and efficient ex ante production choices can be mistakenly characterized as inefficient -- informational differences are mistaken for differences in technical efficiency. This paper uses simulation methods to illustrate the type and magnitude of empirical errors that can emerge in efficiency analysis as a result of overly restrictive representations of production technologies.
    JEL: D81
  8. By: Benn Eifert; Alan Gelb; Vijaya Ramachandran
    Abstract: This paper ties together the macroeconomic and microeconomic evidence on the competitiveness of African manufacturing sectors. The conceptual framework is based on the newer theories that see the evolution of comparative advantage as influenced by the business climate -- a key public good -- and by external economies between clusters of firms entering in related sectors. Macroeconomic data from purchasing power parity (PPP), though imprecisely measured, estimates confirms that Africa is high-cost relative to its levels of income and productivity. This finding is compared with firm-level evidence from surveys undertaken for Investment Climate Assessments in 2000-2004. These confirm a pattern of generally low productivity, and also suggest the importance of high indirect costs and business-environment-related losses in depressing the productivity of African firms relative to those in other countries. There are differences between African countries, however, with some showing evidence of a stronger business community and better business climate. Finally, the paper adopts a political-economy perspective on the prospects for reform of Africa’s business climate, considering African attitudes to business and the fractured nature of African business sectors as between indigenous, minority and foreign investors. The latter have far higher productivity and a greater propensity to export; however, Africa’s difficult business climate and the tendency to overcome this by working in ethnic networks slows new entry and may decrease the incentives of key parts of the business community form constituting an aggressive pressure group for reform. Even though reforms are moving forward in several countries, this slows their impact and raises the possibility that countries settle into a low-productivity equilibrium. The paper concludes with a discussion of the findings for reforms to boost the competitiveness and diversification of African economies.
    Keywords: Africa, manufacturing, private sector, business climate,
    JEL: D5 D2 E3 F2
  9. By: Michael Fritsch; Pamela Mueller
    Abstract: We investigate the effects of new business formation on employment change in German regions. A special focus is on the lag-structure of this effect and on differences between regions. The different phases of the effects of new business formation on regional development are relatively pronounced in agglomerations as well as in regions with a high-level of labor productivity. In low-productivity regions, the overall employment effect of new business formation activity might be negative. The interregional differences indicate that regional factors play an important role.
    Keywords: Entrepreneurship, new business formation, regional development
    JEL: M13 O1 O18 R11
    Date: 2006–08
  10. By: Kong Weng Ho; Hian Teck Hoon (School of Economics and Social Sciences, Singapore Management University)
    Abstract: In this paper, we take another approach to accounting for the sources of Singapore’s economic growth by being explicit about the channels through which Singapore, as a technological follower, benefits from international R&D spillovers. Taking into account the channels through which technology developed in the G5 countries diffuses to technological followers, we show that 57.5 percent of Singapore’s real GDP per worker growth rate over the 1970-2002 period is due to multifactor productivity growth. In particular, about 52 percent of the growth is accounted for by an increase in the effectiveness of accessing ideas developed by the technology leaders through improvement in our educational quality and increase in machinery imports and foreign direct investment from the G5 countries. We also find that capital accumulation that takes the form of imports of machinery as well as foreign direct investment from the G5 countries enhances the effectiveness of technology transfer thus raising the rate of return to capital. Compared to the rate of return to capital inferred from the traditional Solow growth model with purely exogenous technological progress of 10.8 percent, taking into account the technology transfer channel raises the implied rate of return to 13 percent.
    Keywords: technological diffusion, idea production function, multifactor productivity growth
    JEL: F43 O33 O47
    Date: 2006–06
  11. By: Dhanoos Sutthiphisal
    Abstract: This paper investigates the impact of ¡§learning-by-producing¡¨ on inventive activity and shows that, in both emerging (electrical equipment and supplies) and maturing (shoes and textiles) industries, the geographic association between invention and production was rather weak during the Second Industrial Revolution. Regional shifts in production were neither accompanied nor followed by corresponding increases in invention. Instead, this paper finds that the geographic location of inventive activity tended to mirror the geographic distribution of individuals with advanced technical skills appropriate to the particular industry in question. Even in the craft-based shoe industry, much of the invention came from those with the advanced technical skills. The findings suggest that scholars have over-emphasized the importance of learning-by-producing in accounting for the geographic differences in inventive activity, and underestimated the significance of technical skills or human capital amongst the population.
    JEL: N0 O3
    Date: 2006–08
  12. By: Giovanni Peri
    Abstract: The recent literature on externalities of schooling in the U.S. is rather mixed: positive external effects of average education are hardly found at all, while often positive externalities from the share of college graduates are identified. This paper proposes a simple model to explain this fact and tests it using U.S. states data. The key idea is that advanced technologies, associated with high total factor productivity and high returns to skills, are complementary to highly educated workers, as opposed to traditional technologies, complementary to less educated. Our calibrated model predicts that workers with twelve years of schooling (high school graduates) are indifferent between traditional and advanced technologies, while more educated workers adopt the advanced technologies and benefit from the larger private and social returns associated to them. Only shifts in education above high school graduation are therefore associated with positive social returns stemming from more efficient technologies. The empirical analysis, using compulsory attendance laws, immigration of highly educated workers and the location of land-grant colleges as instruments confirm that an increase in the share of college graduates, but not an increase in the share of high school graduates, had large positive production externalities in U.S. States.
    JEL: J24 J31 O41 R11
    Date: 2006–08
  13. By: Peter Timmer
    Abstract: No country has been able to sustain a rapid transition out of poverty without raising productivity in its agricultural sector. Despite this historical role of agriculture in economic development, both the academic and donor communities lost interest in the sector, starting in the mid-1980s. This was mostly because of low prices in world markets for basic agricultural commodities, caused largely by the success of the Green Revolution in Asia. After two decades of neglect, interest in agriculture is returning. This paper explores the reasons why agriculture is back on the policy agenda for donors and poor countries alike. The most important reason is new understanding that economic growth is the main vehicle for reducing poverty and that growth in the agricultural sector plays a major role in that overall growth as well as in connecting the poor to growth. There is a sharp debate, however, between “optimists” and “pessimists” over the potential for small-scale agriculture to continue to play these historic roles. In a world of open trade, ready availability of cheap food in world markets, continued agricultural protection in rich countries, and economies of scale in access to food supply chains that are increasingly dominated by supermarkets and export buyers, large-scale farms with state-of-the-art technology and access to efficient infrastructure can push smallholders out of commercial markets. Consequently, the paper concludes, geographic coverage and operational efficiency of rural infrastructure, coupled to effective investment in modern agricultural research and extension, will determine the future role for agriculture in poverty reduction.
    Keywords: agriculture, economic development, economic growth, poverty,
    JEL: Q1 O13 O4 F35
  14. By: Hoon Hian Teck (School of Economics and Social Sciences, Singapore Management University); Edmund S. Phelps (Columbia University)
    Abstract: It seems to be taken for granted by many commentators that the sharp decline in prices of computers, telecommunications equipment and software resulting from the technological improvements in the information and communications technology (ICT)-producing sector is good for jobs and is a major driving force behind the non-inflationary employment miracle and booming stock market in the latter half of the nineties in the U.S. and their recurrence since 2004. We show that, in our model, a technical improvement in the ICT-producing sector by itself cannot explain a simultaneous increase in employment and a risein firms’ valuation (or Tobin’s Q ratio). There are two cases. If the elasticity of equipment price (pI ) with respect to ICT-producing sector’s productivity is less than one, labor’s value marginal productivity increases thus pulling up the demand wage and expanding employment. However, the increased output by adding to the capital stock and thus driving down future capital rentals causes a decline in firms’ valuation, q per unit, even though Tobin’s Q (= q=pI ) is up. If the elasticity is greater than one, equipment prices fall so dramatically that labor’s value marginal productivity declines, employment in the ICT-using sector expands proportionately more than the increase in capital stock, thus raising future capital rentals, so both firms’ valuation and Tobin’s Q rise; but then real demand wage falls and employment contracts. The key to generating a booming stock market alongside employment expansion is to hypothesize that when technical improvement in the ICT-producing sector occurs, the market forms an expectation of future productivity gains to be reaped in the ICT-using sector. Then we can explain not only the stock market boom and associated rise in investment spending and employment in the period 1995-2000 but also the subsequent decline in employment, in Tobin’s Q and in investment spending in 2001, with consumption holding up well as productivity gains in the ICT-using sector were realized. An anticipation of a future TFP improvement in the ICT-using sector can once more play the role of raising the stock market.
    Keywords: Business asset valuation, Tobin’s Q, investment spending,employment
    JEL: E13 E22 E23 E24 O33
    Date: 2006–02
  15. By: Harvie, Charles (University of Wollongong); Pahlavani, Mosayeb (University of Wollongong)
    Abstract: The primary objective of this paper is to examine the major determinants of GDP growth in South Korea emphasizing the importance of investment, trade and human capital, using quarterly time series data covering the period 1980Q1 to 2005Q3. The time series properties of the data are, first, analyzed using the Zivot-Andrews (1992) model. The empirical results derived indicate that there is insufficient evidence against the null hypothesis of unit roots for all of the variables under investigation. Second, the Gregory-Hansen (1996) cointegration technique, allowing for the presence of potential structural breaks in the data, is applied, and is found to reject the null hypothesis of no cointegration relationship in favour of the existence of at least one cointegration relation in the presence of single structural breaks in the system. By applying these methodologies we find that most of the endogenously determined structural breaks coincide with the gradual effects of the Asian crisis on the Korean economy. Taking into account the resulting endogenously determined structural breaks the error correction version of the ARDL procedure is then employed, to specify the short- and long-term determinants of economic growth in the presence of structural breaks. Based on the preliminary empirical findings obtained we conclude that, in the long-term, policies aimed at promoting various types of physical and human capital, and trade openness, have improved Korea’s economic growth. More specifically, the empirical results show that while the effects of physical and human capital as well as exports are highly significant, as expected, total imports were found to be non significant, and this could be due to compositional changes away from the importation of capital goods to consumer goods as Korean standards of living have improved. It was also found that the speed of adjustment in the estimated models is relatively high and had the expected significant and negative sign.
    Keywords: Korean economy, growth, structural break, and ARDL analysis
    JEL: O47 C12 C22 C51
    Date: 2006
  16. By: Gayle Allard; Peter H. Lindert
    Abstract: How have labor market institutions and welfare-state transfers affected jobs and productivity in Western Europe, relative to industrialized Pacific Rim countries? Orthodox criticisms of European government institutions are right in some cases and wrong in others. Protectionist labor-market policies such as employee protection laws seem to have become more costly since about 1980, not through overall employment effects, but through the net human-capital cost of protecting senior male workers at the expense of women and youth. Product-market regulations in core sectors may also have reduced GDP, though here the evidence is less robust. By contrast, high general tax levels have shed the negative influence they might have had in the 1960s and 1970s. Similarly, other institutions closer to the core of the welfare state have caused no net harm to European jobs and growth. The welfare state’s tax-based social transfers and coordinated wage bargaining have not harmed either employment or GDP. Even unemployment benefits do not have robustly negative effects.
    JEL: N13 N3
    Date: 2006–08
  17. By: Dirk Krueger; Alexander Ludwig
    Abstract: This paper employs a multi-country large scale Overlapping Generations model with uninsurable labor productivity and mortality risk to quantify the impact of the demographic transition towards an older population in industrialized countries on world-wide rates of return, international capital flows and the distribution of wealth and welfare in the OECD. We find that for the U.S. as an open economy, rates of return are predicted to decline by 86 basis points between 2005 and 2080 and wages increase by about 4.1%. If the U.S. were a closed economy, rates of return would decline and wages increase by less. This is due to the fact that other regions in the OECD will age even more rapidly; therefore the U.S. is "importing" the more severe demographic transition from the rest of the OECD in the form of larger factor price changes. In terms of welfare, our model suggests that young agents with little assets and currently low labor productivity gain, up to 1% in consumption, from higher wages associated with population aging. Older, asset-rich households tend to lose, because of the predicted decline in real returns to capital.
    JEL: C68 D33 E17 E25
    Date: 2006–08

This nep-eff issue is ©2006 by Angelo Zago. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.