nep-eff New Economics Papers
on Efficiency and Productivity
Issue of 2007‒07‒27
eight papers chosen by
Angelo Zago
University of Verona

  1. Exports and Productivity Growth – First Evidence from a Continuous Treatment Approach By Fryges, Helmut; Wagner, Joachim
  2. Human Capital and Productivity in Microenterprises By Mungaray, Alejandro; Ramirez-Urquidy, Martin
  3. The Impact of Entrepreneurship Capital on Spanish's Labor Productivity and Economic Growth By Massón Guerra, José Luis
  4. Mergers and Acquisitions in the Colombian Financial Sector (Impact on Efficiency 1990 – 2005) By Sergio Clavijo; Carlos I. Rojas; Camila Salamanca; Germán Montoya
  5. Irreversible Investment, Capital Costs and Productivity Growth: Implications for Telecommunications By Jeffrey I. Bernstein; Theofanis P. Mamuneas
  6. Incorporating Both Undesirable Outputs and Uncontrollable Variables into DEA: the Performance of Chinese Coal-Fired Power Plants By Yang, H.; Pollitt, M.
  7. Local Governments in the Wake of Demographic Change: Efficiency and Economies of Scale in German Municipalities By Geys, Benny; Heinemann, Friedrich; Kalb, Alexander
  8. Informality and Productivity in Bolivia: A Gender Differentiated Empirical Analysis By Lykke E. Andersen; Beatriz Muriel

  1. By: Fryges, Helmut; Wagner, Joachim
    Abstract: A recent survey of 54 micro-econometric studies reveals that exporting firms are more productive than non-exporters. On the other hand, previous empirical studies show that exporting does not necessarily improve productivity. One possible reason for this result is that most previous studies are restricted to analysing the relationship between a firm’s export status and the growth of its labour productivity, using the firms’ export status as a binary treatment variable and comparing the performance of exporting and non-exporting firms. In this paper, we apply the newly developed generalised propensity score (GPS) methodology that allows for continuous treatment, that is, different levels of the firms’ export activities. Using the GPS method and a large panel data set for German manufacturing firms, we estimate the relationship between a firm’s export-sales ratio and its labour productivity growth rate. We find that there is a causal effect of firms’ export activities on labour productivity growth. However, exporting improves labour productivity growth only within a subinterval of the range of firms’ export-sales ratios.
    Keywords: Export-sales ratio, labour productivity, continuous treatment, dose-response function
    JEL: F14 F23 L60
    Date: 2007
  2. By: Mungaray, Alejandro; Ramirez-Urquidy, Martin
    Abstract: The hypothesis that human capital increases productivity is tested using data from a sample of low value-added microenterprises. A special attribute of this paper is the join treatment of formal learning or training in education institutions, and informal training by experience of the owner in the firm management. Following previous studies, the relation between human capital and productivity is determined by estimating production functions with the inclusion of dummy variables to control for formal education and informal training by experience. Evidence of the linkage of human capital and productivity is reported. It is also reported that both types of investment in human capital have asymmetrical contribution to productivity, where the impact of experience is predominant. This allows concluding that the long-run existence of the firms in the sample is explained by the accumulation of experience in the management. Returns to education occur primarily for technical education and are lower than those generated by experiential learning in the firm management.
    Keywords: Human Capital; Productivity; Small Enterprises
    JEL: M21
    Date: 2007–04
  3. By: Massón Guerra, José Luis
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the role of entrepreneurship capital as a new explanatory factor of Spanish Labor Productivity of Economic Sectors. Based on the Audretsch and Keilbach’s Model (2004a) that measure the capacity of generating new enterprises, the methodology incorporates this capacity as a new “capital” into a Cobb-Douglas Production Function (1928). Using secondary data from 75 Spanish economic sectors and supported by Resource Based View, Dynamic Capacities, and Endogenous Growth Theories, the results reveals that the creation of small enterprises shows a strong impact in the productivity and the sectorial Spanish growth.
    Keywords: Entrepreneurship Capital; Economic Growth; Economic Development; Knowledge Capital
    JEL: R11 M13 O47
    Date: 2007–07–06
  4. By: Sergio Clavijo; Carlos I. Rojas; Camila Salamanca; Germán Montoya
    Abstract: Colombia has witnessed a renewed interest in merging and acquiring financial institutions during 2003-2005. These have been “complementary mergers” that seek to exploit economies scale and scope. This process contrasts favorably with those mergers & acquisitions that occurred during the mid-1990s, which involved mainly “twin institutions” that lacked potential for gaining multiproduct efficiency. This document analyzes the need to remove some of the regulatory constraints that obstruct further exploitation of such economies of scale-scope and quantifies the “cost efficiencies” shown by the Colombian banking sector (1994-2005). At the aggregate level, we found (absolute) banking efficiency to be around 63%, a similar value to those found in related studies post-crisis. This implies that banks operating in Colombia have been able to recover their efficiency levels during postcrisis 2003-2005, except for mortgage institutions. We highlight regulatory barriers that could be removed to help the banking system move closer to the optimal production frontier.
    Date: 2006–07–31
  5. By: Jeffrey I. Bernstein; Theofanis P. Mamuneas
    Abstract: This paper develops a model incorporating costly disinvestment and estimates the associated commitment premium required to invest in telecommunications. Results indicate that the irreversibility premium raises the opportunity cost of capital by 70 percent. This implies an average annual hurdle rate of return of 14 percent over the period 1986-2002. Irreversibility creates a distinction between observed and adjusted TFP growth. Observed growth, which omits the premium, annually averaged 2.8 percent from 1986 to 2002. This rate exceeded the (premium) adjusted TFP growth by 0.7 percentage points, and therefore average annual observed productivity growth overestimated the corrected rate by 33 percent.
    JEL: D24 L96
    Date: 2007–07
  6. By: Yang, H.; Pollitt, M.
    Abstract: There are two difficulties in doing an objective evaluation of the performance of decision-making units (DMUs). The first one is how to treat undesirable outputs jointly produced with the desirable outputs, and the second one is how to treat uncontrollable variables, which often capture the impact of the operating environment. Given difficulties in both model construction and data availability, very few published papers simultaneously consider the above two problems. This article attempts to do so by proposing six DEA-based performance evaluation models based on a research sample of the Chinese coal-fired power plants. The finding of this paper not only contributes for the performance measurement methodology, but also has policy implications for the Chinese coal-fired power sector.
    Keywords: Data envelopment analysis, performance measurement, technical efficiency, electricity
    Date: 2007–07
  7. By: Geys, Benny; Heinemann, Friedrich; Kalb, Alexander
    Abstract: German municipalities are expected to suffer from (often significant) population losses in the upcoming decades. We assess these local governments’ vulnerability to the fiscal consequences of this demographic decline through two means (using a sample of 1021 municipalities in the state of Baden-Württemberg). First, we consider local government cost efficiency. This indicates that there is a substantial divergence in efficiency despite a homogeneous institutional setting, leaving at least some – mainly smaller – municipalities vulnerable to adverse demographic/financial shocks. Secondly, we estimate the elasticity of local government cost functions to population size. We find that costs rise (fall) underproportionally with population size for small municipalities, whereas this is less the case for larger municipalities. This implies that especially small municipalities are vulnerable to increasing cost pressures under declining population. The overall implication is that large German municipalities (over 10.000 inhabitants) will more easily be able to cope with the expected population decline than smaller ones, supporting a case for boundary reviews or more extensive inter-communal cooperation.
    Keywords: Demographic change, Efficiency, Local government performance, Stochastic frontier analysis, Economies of scale, Cost elasticity
    JEL: D61 H40
    Date: 2007
  8. By: Lykke E. Andersen (Institute for Advanced Development Studies); Beatriz Muriel (Maestrias para el Desarrollo, Universidad Catolica Boliviana)
    Abstract: The urban labor market in Bolivia can be divided into 4 main sectors: 1) the public sector, 2) the formal private sector, 3) self-employed informals, and 4) informal workers. Although incomes are generally higher in the public sector and in the formal private sector, there is a strong preference in Bolivia for being informally self-employed. Two thirds of both men and women in urban areas respond that they would prefer to be self-employed rather than a salaried employee, and few see any advantage of becoming formal under the current institutional set-up. Currently, half of all economically active women in urban areas are informally self-employed, while this is the case for only one third of men. This implies that women are actually closer to the desired state than men, according to their own preferences. The real problem for women is not that they are informally self-employed, but rather that the profitability of their informal enterprises is low. On average, monthly profits of female micro-entrepreneurs is about 40% lower than those of male micro-entrepreneurs. This report uses quantitative information from about 600 micro and small enterprises to break down and understand this gender gap in profitability, and the results show that almost the whole gap is due to the fact that women operate their businesses on a much smaller scale (with less productive capital and fewer employees) than men. Why do female entrepreneurs operate on a smaller scale? One partial explanation is that they do not want to grow, because the business then would loose some of the features that make a micro-business particularly attractive for women (not to depend on others, to be able to care for children simultaneously, flexible working hours, and daily revenues). More important, however, is the lack of access to capital. Micro and small businesses operated by women have only a third of the operating capital of male operated businesses. There are two main reasons for this. First, women generally have fewer opportunities to accumulate capital, both because their household and reproductive work takes time away from paid work, and because they tend to earn less than men when they do work for money. Second, they do not have access to credit on reasonable terms. Access by itself is not the problem, as there is a very active micro-credit industry in Bolivia, but the terms are so unattractive that women try to avoid it if at all possible. The interest rates are high (20-40% per year); the group-lending practices increases the risk for the borrower, as they may end up paying other group members’ debt also; and they are typically required to assist at compulsory training courses twice a month, which is demanding for busy women running both a business and a household. Banks offer loans at more reasonable terms, but the requirements are difficult for micro-entrepreneurs to comply with (especially proof of a monthly pay check) and the risk is large as an entire house is often put up as collateral for even a small loan. Capital and credit is not a binding constraint in all sectors, however. On average, returns to additional capital investments are estimated to be relatively high (internal rates of return of over 20%) in the food sales sector, the textile clothing sector, and the camelid clothing sector. In contrast, they are estimated to be negative for grocery stores and the transport sector, which have experienced overinvestment to the extent that the returns to both capital and labor in these two sectors have been severely depressed. Even in the sectors where returns to capital are relatively high, a doubling of productive capital would not lead to a doubling of monthly profits. In fact, estimation results show strongly diminishing returns to scale, which means that micro-enterprises have little incentive to grow. Under the current institutional setup in Bolivia, it makes more economic sense to have several identical micro-enterprises in the family rather than one larger enterprise, and this is indeed often observed in practice. This is partly due to the characteristics of the sectors (for example, several small stores can capture a larger market due to the geographical dispersion), but it is mostly due to the tax-system, which becomes very demanding, both in terms of bureaucratic procedures and in terms of tax burden, as soon as an enterprise grows past a certain threshold. Under the current institutional set up, micro-entrepreneurs perceive no benefits from becoming formal, and indeed estimation results confirm that formality would lower the monthly profits of micro-enterprises (less than 3 workers and less than $1000 in operating capital) by 30-40%. Slightly bigger firms (3-5 workers), however, may benefit from getting a NIT and thus be able to offer facturas to the clients.
    Keywords: Informality, Productivity, Gender, Bolivia
    JEL: J21 J24 J31 J42 J48 J78
    Date: 2007–07

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