nep-eff New Economics Papers
on Efficiency and Productivity
Issue of 2007‒06‒02
seven papers chosen by
Angelo Zago
University of Verona

  1. Household Strategies of Labor Allocation and Living Standards of Pregnant Women in Modern Rural Japan: A Case Studies of Aomori Prefecture and North-eastern Part of Japan in the 1910s and 1930s By Izumi Shirai
  2. SME Performance, Innovation and Networking Evidence on Complementarities for a Local Economic System By Massimiliano Mazzanti; Susanna Mancinelli
  3. Production Functions for Climate Policy Modeling: An Empirical Analysis By Edwin van der Werf
  4. Italy-Assessing Competition and Efficiency in the Banking System By Andrea M. Maechler; Sandra Marcelino; Paulo Flavio Nacif Drummond
  5. Export structure and growth : a detailed analysis for Argentina By Torrado, Monica Parra; Parks, James; Guerson, Alejandro
  6. ‘Running in the Family’ The Evolution of Ownership,Control and Performance in German Familyowned Firms, 1903-2003 By Olaf Ehrhardt; Eric NOWAK; Felix-Michael WEBER
  7. Performance Assessment of Portuguese Secondary Schools By M. C. Portela; A. S. Camanho

  1. By: Izumi Shirai (Graduate School of Economics, Osaka University)
    Abstract: In this paper, it examines the relationship between the infant mortality rate (IMR) and introduction of new agricultural laborsaving technology which contributed to reduce labor absorption in rice production and labor intensity and increase the agricultural productivity by using the data of modern rural North-eastern Japan c.a. 1910s to 1930s. Assuming that IMR is the index of the living standards and the agricultural productivity and labor intensity is the one of the level of introduction of new technology, we focus on the structure of infant death in order to clarify the general labor environment of pregnant women. As results of the analysis, the followings are becoming clarified; 1) the innovation and diffusion of agricultural technology, by which human agricultural labor was dramatically saved and the agricultural productivity was increased, caused the decline of IMR through the rise of agricultural productivity; 2) the expansion of cottage industry among the peasant household contributed to decline of IMR by reallocating family labor mainly to non-agricultural works. From these results, this paper presents the change of the labor allocation strategy of the peasant household makes the effect on the improvement of their living standards in modern rural Japan.
    Keywords: infant mortality, peasant household, agricultural technological development, dual occupation, household strategy of labor allocation
    JEL: N35 N55 R29
    Date: 2007–06
  2. By: Massimiliano Mazzanti (University of Ferrara); Susanna Mancinelli (University of Ferrara)
    Abstract: The paper addresses the relevancy of networking activities and R&D as main drivers of productivity performance and ouput innovation, for small and medium enterprises (SME) playing in a local economic system. Given the intangible nature of many techno organisational innovation and networking strategies, original recent survey data for manufacturing and services are exploited. The aim is to provide new evidence on the complementarity relationships concerning different networking activities and R&D in a local SME oriented system in Northern Italy. We first introduce a methodological framework to empirically test complementarity among R&D and networking, in a discrete setting. Secondly, we consequently present empirical evidence on productivity drivers and on complementarity between R&D and networking strategies, with respect to firm productivity and process/product output innovation. R&D is a main driver of innovation and productivity, even without networking. This may signify, in association with the evidence on complementarity, that firm expenditures on R&D are a primary driver for performance. The complementarity with networking is a consequential step. Networking by itself cannot thus play a role in stimulating productivity and innovation. It can be a complementary factor in situations where cooperation and networking are needed to achieve economies of scale and/or to merge and integrate diverse skills, technologies and competencies. This is compatible with a framework where networking is the public good part of an impure public good wherein R&D plays the part of the private-led driving force towards structural break from the business as usual scenario. Managers and policy makers should be aware that in order to exploit asset complementarity, possibly transformed into competitive advantages, both R&D and networking are to be sustained and favoured. our evidence suggests that R&D may be a single main driver of performance. Since R&D expenditures are associated with firm size, a policy sustain is to be directed towards firm enlargement. After a certain threshold firms have the force to increase expenditures. The size effect is nevertheless non monotonous. Then, but not least important, for the majority of firms still remaining under a critical size threshold, policy incentives should be directed to R&D in connection with networking, through which a virtuous circle may arise. It is worth noting that it is not networking as such the main engine. Networking elements are crucially linked to innovation dynamics; it is nevertheless innovation that explains and drives networking, and not the often claimed mere existence of local spillovers or of a civic associative culture in the territory. Such public good factors exist but are likely to evolve with and be sustained by firm innovative dynamics.
    Keywords: Firm Competitiveness, Innovation, R&D, Networking, Complementarity, Local Economic System
    JEL: D21 L25 O3 O14 Z13
    Date: 2007–04
  3. By: Edwin van der Werf (Kiel Institute for the World Economy)
    Abstract: Quantitative models for climate policy modeling differ in the production structure used and in the sizes of the elasticities of substitution. The empirical foundation for both is generally lacking. This paper estimates the parameters of two-level CES production functions with capital, labour and energy as inputs, and is the first to systematically compare all nesting structures. Using industry-level data from 12 OECD countries, we find that the nesting structure where capital and labour are combined first, fits the data best, but for most countries and industries we cannot reject that all three inputs can be put into one single nest. These two nesting structures are used by most climate models. However, while several climate policy models use a Cobb-Douglas function for (part of the) production function, we reject elasticities equal to one, in favour of considerably smaller values. Finally we find evidence for factor-specific technological change. With lower elasticities and with factor-specific technological change, some climate policy models may find a bigger effect of endogenous technological change on mitigating the costs of climate policy.
    Keywords: Climate Policy, Input Substitution, Technological Change
    JEL: O13 Q32 Q43 Q55
    Date: 2007–04
  4. By: Andrea M. Maechler; Sandra Marcelino; Paulo Flavio Nacif Drummond
    Abstract: The paper assesses the degree of banking competition and efficiency in Italy?over time as well as compared to that in other countries, such as France, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The paper finds competition in the Italian banking sector has intensified in loan and deposit markets in recent years, but banks still operate in a highcost, high-income system, particularly with respect to retail/services, and efficiency gains have yet to fully materialize. The degree of competition falls within the range of estimates for a set of comparator countries. Greater contestability should act as a powerful force to drive banks to become more competitive and efficient. Competition policy will also continue to be an important consideration, both in enforcing Italy's antitrust laws and in ensuring that the procedures for dealing with weak banks and other merger and acquisition reviews focus on stability and competition objectives.
    Keywords: Banking systems , Italy , Competition ,
    Date: 2007–02–06
  5. By: Torrado, Monica Parra; Parks, James; Guerson, Alejandro
    Abstract: This paper examines recent changes in the structure of Argentine exports and the implications for future growth. The authors find that the current export structure of Argentina is not conducive to future growth because it is dominated by low-productivity goods that tend to be exported by low-income countries. The productivity content of Argentine exports has increased recently although, as of 2004, these changes have been rela tively minor. The authors identify products with characteristics similar to those currently exported by Argentina and which are more likely to foster growth because they would shift the structure of exports more the efficiency frontier. Those products include chemicals and primary products with some degree of value added, including partly processed meat, fish and grains. If economic growth is to be fostered by developing new export products and by increasing the value added of existing exports, there will be a need for sector-specific analysis to address possible market failures. The analysis should focus on issues such as the provision of public goods needed for production (including infrastructure, but also complex intangibles such as sector-specific legislation), possible impediments to effective coordination, sector-specific and economy wide externalities, or barriers to information. This last source of potential market failure is critical to a successful policy framework for exports and growth.
    Keywords: Economic Theory & Research,Transport Economics Policy & Planning,Tax Law,Water and Industry,Agribusiness & Markets
    Date: 2007–05–01
  6. By: Olaf Ehrhardt (University of Applied Sciences Straslund und Humboldt University Berlin); Eric NOWAK (University of Lugano); Felix-Michael WEBER (Elephant Equity, Munich)
    Abstract: In this study we analyze the evolution of ownership, control, and performance in German founding-family-owned firms over the last century. We employ a hand-collected matched sample of German stock companies founded before World War I and still in existence in 2003. Comparing family-owned and non-family-owned firms over the 100-year time-span, we are able to analyze a variety of variables including ownership, control, industries, bank relationships and performance, as well as the impact of intergenerational control transfers. We find that families are slow to give up ownership , and control of family businesses remains strong even after several generations. Family firms seem to outperform nonfamily firms in terms of operating performance, but performance declines over the generations.
    Keywords: Family firms, performance, ownership, control, German stock markets
    JEL: G32 N23 N24
    Date: 2004–07
  7. By: M. C. Portela (Faculdade de Economia e Gestão, Universidade Católica Portuguesa (Porto)); A. S. Camanho (Faculdade de Engenharia, Universidade do Porto)
    Abstract: This paper describes a performance analysis of Portuguese secondary schools us- ing data envelopment analysis (DEA). The type of assessment carried out in schools may be di®erent depending on the perspective. Therefore we adopted in this pa- per two perspectives for assessing schools: a society perspective where schools are viewed as promoting students achievement (ideally including not only academic re- sults but also interpersonal capacities) given the students characteristics in terms of academic abilities and socio-economic backgrounds; and an educational authorities perspective where schools are viewed as transforming a set of resources (including students with given characteristics in terms of academic abilities and socio-economic backgrounds and also school resources, such as teachers) into students achievement. Two types of DEA analysis were performed: one using an output oriented model allowing factor weights to vary freely from school to school and another using a model that restricts factor weights to be equal for all schools. The ¯rst model is well suited for identifying worst performing schools, whereas the latter is best suited for identifying best performing schools. Our data set comprised a small number of schools and in some cases there were missing values. The problems associated with missing data were overcome following a procedure described in the literature. The empirical DEA analysis was followed by an exploratory analysis of contextual indicators that potentially a®ect schools' performance, in order to understand their impact on the educational process.
    Keywords: Data Envelopment Analysis, Secondary Schools.
    JEL: C61 D24 I20
    Date: 2007–05

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