New Economics Papers
on Efficiency and Productivity
Issue of 2007‒01‒23
eleven papers chosen by

  1. Supply-Side Performance and Structure in the Czech Republic (1995ů2005) By Kamil Dybczak; Vladislav Flek; Dana Hajkova; Jaromir Hurnik
  2. Dutch retail trade on the rise? By Harold Creusen; Björn Vroomen; Henry van der Wiel; Fred Kuypers
  3. Malmquist Productivity Index Decompositions: A Unifying Framework By Zofío, José Luis
  4. Drift and breaks in labor productivity By Luca Benati
  5. Identification of Segments of French Urban Public Transport with a Latent Class Frontier Model By William Roy; Carlos Barros
  6. On the Accuracy of Bootstrap Confidence Intervals for Efficiency Levels in Stochastic Frontier Models with Panel Data By Myungsup Kim; Yangseon Kim; Peter Schmidt
  7. International Technology Spillovers in Climate-Economy Models: Two Possible Approaches By Enrica De Cian
  8. Marginal Comparisons with the Best ant the Efficiency Measurment Problem By Yangseon Kim; Peter Schmidt
  9. Municipal Waste Production, Economic Drivers, and ‘New’ Waste Policies: EKC Evidence from Italian Regional and Provincial Panel Data By Massimiliano Mazzanti; Anna Montini; Roberto Zoboli
  10. Firm performance characteristics and gender ownership in a Globalised Economy By Frances Ruane; Julie Sutherland
  11. Improving urban transport performances by tendering lots: an econometric estimation of natural monopoly frontiers By William Roy; Yves Croissant

  1. By: Kamil Dybczak; Vladislav Flek; Dana Hajkova; Jaromir Hurnik
    Abstract: In this paper, we apply the aggregate production function to approximate the path of potential output. We use a time-varying NAIRU to derive the amount of potential labour and a newly developed measure of capital services to account for the productive impact of capital. In addition, trend total factor productivity is estimated. Production functions for the key sectors (Agriculture, Industry, etc.) are also calculated, exploring the growth accounting approach and decomposition of total factor productivity growth. During 1995ů2005, the growth in potential output was constrained by a gradual increase in the NAIRU, a temporary drop in investment activity and, most importantly, by only a modest rise in total factor productivity. In this period, the Czech economy also suffered from a structural burden, i.e. all growth in total factor productivity was exclusively due to better utilisation of resources, given their initial allocation, with an even negative contribution of resource reallocation. Just from 2001 onwards, we observe substantial improvements in supply-side performance, except for the functioning of the labour market.
    Keywords: . Capital services, factor allocation and utilisation, growth accounting, NAIRU, potential output, production function, structural changes, total factor productivity.
    JEL: E23 O11 O12 O47
    Date: 2006–10
  2. By: Harold Creusen; Björn Vroomen; Henry van der Wiel; Fred Kuypers
    Abstract: The Dutch retail trade demonstrated a relatively meagre performance in terms of productivity (growth) during the 1990s; especially seen from an international perspective. This study analyses the productivity performance of the Dutch retail trade in more detail; and focuses on competition and innovation as two main drivers of productivity growth. More precisely; it takes the mutual relationship between competition; innovation and productivity explicitly into account. Between 1993 and 2002 changes in competition varied substantially within the retail trade. However, on average competition slightly declined. Furthermore, only a few firms in the Dutch retail trade innovate. Regression analysis reveals that both competition and innovation enhance productivity growth directly. Further, fiercer competition induces more innovation, and consequently also raises productivity indirectly via innovation.
    Keywords: competition; innovation; productivity; measurement; productivity policy
    JEL: D24 L1 L5 L81 O31
    Date: 2006–12
  3. By: Zofío, José Luis (Departamento de Análisis Económico (Teoría e Historia Económica). Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.)
    Abstract: In two widely cited but unpublished working papers, Simar and Wilson (1998) and Zofío and Lovell (1998) proposed an alternative decomposition of the Malmquist Productivity Index, which retained what seemed to be the strongholds of previous proposals with regard to the contribution of technological and efficiency change to productivity change. Namely, a technical change term with regard to the best practice (VRS) technology which is to be found in Ray and Desli (1997) and a scale efficiency change term that illustrates a firm’s situation with regard to optimal scale (benchmark technology), Färe, Grosskopf, Norris and Zhang (1994). Attaining this objective required the introduction of an additional term in the Malmquist Productivity Index decomposition, which would reflect the scale bias of technical change. It is our objective to provide economic rationale for this term within a theory of production context, the existing decompositions and recent articles that further elaborate on this issue. The ideas are illustrated using productivity trends in 17 OECD countries
    Keywords: Productivity Change, Malmquist Indices, Distance Functions
    JEL: C43 D24 O47
  4. By: Luca Benati (European Central Bank, Kaiserstrasse 29, 60311 Frankfurt am Main, Germany.)
    Abstract: We use tests for multiple breaks at unknown points in the sample, and the Stock-Watson (1996, 1998) time-varying parameters median-unbiased estimation methodology, to investigate changes in the equilibrium rate of growth of labor productivity–both per hour and per worker–in the United States, the Eurozone, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Japan over the post-WWII era. Results for the U.S. well capture the ‘conventional wisdom’ of a golden era of high productivity growth, the 1950s and 1960s; a marked deceleration starting from the beginning of the 1970s; and a strong growth resurgence starting from mid-1990s. Evidence clearly suggests the 1990s’ productivity acceleration to have reached a plateau over the last few years. Results for the Eurozone point towards a marked deceleration since the beginning of the 1980s, with equilibrium productivity growth stabilising over the most recent period. JEL Classification: E30, E32.
    Keywords: Structural break tests, time-varying parameters, median-unbiased estimation, variance ratio, bootstrapping, frequency domain, Monte Carlo integration.
    Date: 2007–01
  5. By: William Roy (LET - Laboratoire d'économie des transports - [CNRS : UMR5593] - [Université Lumière - Lyon II] - [Ecole Nationale des Travaux Publics de l'Etat]); Carlos Barros (ISEG - Instituto Superior de Economia e Gestão - [U.T.L. - Technical University of Lisbon])
    Abstract: This paper analyses technical efficiency of French urban public transport from 1995 to 2002 with unbalanced panel data. The latent class frontier model is used allowing the identification of different segments in the production frontier. We find that there are three statistically significant segments in the sample. Therefore, we conclude that no common transport policy can reach all of the transportation companies analysed, thereby requiring transport policies by segments.
    Keywords: Urban public transport, stochastic production frontier, latent class model, technical efficiency, panel data.
    Date: 2007–01–05
  6. By: Myungsup Kim (University of North Texas); Yangseon Kim (East-West Center); Peter Schmidt (Michigan State University)
    Abstract: We study the construction of confidence intervals for efficiency levels of individual firms in stochastic frontier models with panel data. The focus is on bootstrapping and related methods. We start with a survey of various versions of the bootstrap. We also propose a simple parametric alternative in which one acts as if the identity of the best firm is known. Monte Carlo simulations indicate that the parametric method works better than the per- centile bootstrap, but not as well as bootstrap methods that make bias corrections. All of these methods are valid only for large time-series sample size (T), and correspondingly none of the methods yields very accurate confidence intervals except when T is large enough that the identity of the best firm is clear. We also present empirical results for two well-known data sets.
    Keywords: Stochastic frontier, bootstrap, efficiency
    JEL: C15 C23 D24
    Date: 2006–10
  7. By: Enrica De Cian (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes two possible methodologies of modeling international technology spillovers in a climate-economy CGE model. Technological change, by affecting productivity, energy and carbon intensity, eventually influences the amount of CO2 emissions, the costs and the timing of the policies targeted at their reduction. Technological change is here defined so as to include also the diffusion and adoption phase. In an increasingly integrated world, new products and technologies developed in one region will eventually diffuse internationally. The two approaches described in this paper are based on two mechanisms used to model technological change in climate models: learning curves, total factor productivity and the autonomous energy efficient improvement parameter. This paper considers spillovers mediated by international trade in capital goods. In particular, it looks at how imports machinery and equipments from the OECD countries can affect the technology variables related to CO2 emissions: learning rates in the first approach, productivity, energy and carbon intensity in the second one.
    Keywords: Climate Policy, International Trade, Learning Curves, International Technology Spillovers, Biased Technical Change
    JEL: F18 Q54 Q55
    Date: 2006–11
  8. By: Yangseon Kim (East-West Center); Peter Schmidt (Michigan State University)
    Date: 1998–12
  9. By: Massimiliano Mazzanti (University of Ferrara); Anna Montini (University of Bologna & National Research Council, CERIS-CNR); Roberto Zoboli (National Research Council, CERIS-CNR Milan & Catholic University of Milan)
    Abstract: This paper provides empirical evidence on delinking and Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC) for municipal waste production in Italy. First, methodological issues and literature on delinking and EKC for waste are critically re-examined. Secondly, we analyse two very disaggregated panel datasets on Italian Regions and Provinces (1996-2004 data for the 20 regions, 2000-2004 data for the 103 provinces) to estimate the extent to which delinking between waste production and economic drivers is taking place. The empirical analysis of different specifications shows mixed evidence in favour of an EKC relationship. Evidence supporting an EKC hypothesis significantly arises at a provincial level, which presents a very high data heterogeneity. Nevertheless, the turning point is at very high levels of added value per capita (around 23,000-26,000€), which characterise a very limited number of wealthy (Northern) Italian provinces. The analysis does not reveal a similar evidence for the regional dataset: only a relative delinking dynamic emerges at the provincial level, we also note a positive relationship between waste production and the share of separated waste collection, which can be explained by the sharp difference in income and waste-policy performance between Northern and Southern Italy. Population density is not significant. Finally, the test on some policy proxies, i.e. the diffusion of the new waste tariff regime at the local-level and the ability of utilities to recover waste service cost, leads to the conclusion that they are not (yet) impacting waste production. To lower the turning points and to avoid an increasing gap between geographical areas, innovative (market based) and more effective policy instruments should be implemented. In particular, the weight of waste policies should be rebalanced towards waste prevention targets and instruments, in line with the priorities stated by the EU and Member Countries. In fact, the indirect feedback effect of good post-production waste management policies/practices on reducing waste production at a source can be weak and slow. In general, the results confirm that more geographically-disaggregated data may offer more insights with respect to cross-country datasets, also from the policy perspective.
    Keywords: Decoupling, Environmental Kuznets Curves, Environmental Efficiency, Waste Indicators, Waste Policy, Economic Drivers, Panel Data
    JEL: C23 Q38 Q56
    Date: 2006–12
  10. By: Frances Ruane; Julie Sutherland
    Abstract: This paper extends existing research on firm heterogeneity by exploring whether differences in firm performance characteristics may in part be related to the gender of the proprietor of the firm. Using a data set of Irish manufacturing firms covering the period 1993 to 2002, we estimate multivariate regression models comparing the performance of female-owned and male-female joint ownership firms with firms owned by males only. When compared with all other firm types, female-owned firms exhibit inferior firm performance characteristics. However, when we control for the ownership structure of the firm and compare female sole-proprietor firms with male sole-proprietor firms, the under-performance difference is reduced. Examining separately firms that are jointly owned by males and females we find that joint ownership firms significantly under-perform those owned by males.
    Keywords: Firm performance, gender
    Date: 2007–01–17
  11. By: William Roy (LET - Laboratoire d'économie des transports - [CNRS : UMR5593] - [Université Lumière - Lyon II] - [Ecole Nationale des Travaux Publics de l'Etat]); Yves Croissant (LET - Laboratoire d'économie des transports - [CNRS : UMR5593] - [Université Lumière - Lyon II] - [Ecole Nationale des Travaux Publics de l'Etat])
    Abstract: Recently, some cities decided to divide their transport network into several attractive and accessible parts (this procedure is called allotment) in order to reduce urban transit costs. Gains obtained by introducing more competition for the market should be compared with costs associated with cutting the network into several parts, and this question is crucially linked with the measure of returns to scale. In this paper, we estimate a translog cost function on a panel of French urban transit networks. Our main conclusion is that scale economies are exhausted for a production corresponding to a city of about 200,000 inhabitants and that allotment, in terms of scale economies, would reduce costs for the seven biggest cities of our sample.
    Keywords: urban public transport industry, panel data, natural monopoly, allotment
    Date: 2007–01–05

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