nep-eff New Economics Papers
on Efficiency and Productivity
Issue of 2008‒07‒05
five papers chosen by
Angelo Zago
University of Verona

  1. Accounting for Productivity: Is it OK to Assume that the World is Cobb-Douglas? By Shekhar Aiyar; Carl-Johan Dalgaard
  2. Biological Innovation and Productivity Growth in the Antebellum Cotton Economy By Alan L. Olmstead; Paul W. Rhode
  3. Uses of National Accounts; History, International Standardization and Applications in the Netherlands By Bos, Frits
  4. Measuring Factor Income Shares at the Sectoral Level By Akos Valentinyi; Berthold Herrendorf
  5. The effect of energy efficiency on Swedish carbon dioxide emissions 1993-2004 By Löfgren, Åsa; Muller, Adrian

  1. By: Shekhar Aiyar (International Monetary Fund); Carl-Johan Dalgaard (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)
    Abstract: The development accounting literature almost always assumes a Cobb-Douglas (CD) production function. However, if in reality the elasticity of substitution between capital and labor deviates substantially from 1, the assumption is invalid, potentially casting doubt on the commonly held view that factors of production are relatively unimportant in accounting for differences in labor productivity. We use international data on relative factor shares and capital-output ratios to formulate a number of tests for the validity of the CD assumption. We find that the CD specification performs reasonably well for the purposes of cross-country productivity accounting.
    Date: 2008–06
  2. By: Alan L. Olmstead; Paul W. Rhode
    Abstract: The Cliometrics literature on slave efficiency has generally focused on static questions. We take a decidedly more dynamic approach. Drawing on the records of 142 plantations with 509 crops years, we show that the average daily cotton picking rate increased about four-fold between 1801 and 1862. We argue that the development and diffusion of new cotton varieties were the primary sources of the increased efficiency. These finding have broad implications for understanding the South's preeminence in the world cotton market, the pace of westward expansion, and the importance of indigenous technological innovation.
    JEL: J43 N11 N5 O3
    Date: 2008–06
  3. By: Bos, Frits
    Abstract: The national accounts is commonly known by its key-aggregates (e.g. GDP and saving) and their role in public debate and decision-making. However, the national accounts plays many different roles for many different uses. This paper provides an overview of the development of these roles and uses since the seventeenth century. Three periods are distinguished: the early estimates (1660-1930), revolutionary decades (1930-1950) and the era of the international guidelines (1950-present). The paper discusses these roles and uses also much more in detail for one country: the Netherlands, a country which played an important role in modern national accounting and where expert data users, like the CPB, SCP and the Dutch central bank, have developed several interesting applications of the national accounts.
    Keywords: Uses of the national accounts; history of national accounting; history of taxation; economic growth; Dutch national accounts; relevance and reliability of the national accounts; Petty; King; Vauban; Quesnay; Keynes; Clark; Kuznets; Leontief; Tinbergen; Hicks; van Cleeff; Stone; Meade; guidelines on national accounting; European unification; macro-economic modeling and forecasting; CPB; SCP; Dutch central bank; fiscal policy; productivity analysis; performance management; national accounts and welfare; measurement in economics
    JEL: B0 C82 E01
    Date: 2008
  4. By: Akos Valentinyi (University of Southampton; Institute of Economics - Hugarian Academy of Sciences); Berthold Herrendorf (W.P.Carey School of Business)
    Abstract: Many applications in economics use multi-sector versions of the growth model. In this paper, we measure the income shares of capital and labor at the sectoral level for the U.S. economy. We also decompose the capital shares into the income shares of land, structures, and equipment. We find that the capital shares differ across sectors. For example, the capital share of agriculture is more than two times that of construction and more than 50% larger than that of the aggregate economy. Moreover, agriculture has by far the largest land share, which mostly explains why it has the largest capital share. Our numbers can directly be used to calibrate standard multi-sector models. Alternatively, if one wants to abstract from differences in sector capital shares, our numbers can be used to establish that this is not crucial for the results.
    Keywords: input-output tables; industry-by-commodity total requirement matrix; sector factor shares
    JEL: O41 O47
    Date: 2008–03
  5. By: Löfgren, Åsa (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University); Muller, Adrian (Socioeconomic Institute, University of Zürich)
    Abstract: Observed decoupling of emissions from output on the aggregate may not only occur due to increased efficiency on sectoral level, but also in case the sectoral composition signi cantly changes from emissions intensive industries towards others, by relocation of emission intensive sectors to foreign countries, by substitution to cleaner types of energy, or by a contraction of the whole economy - all without changes in effciencies. In this paper, we undertake a decomposition analysis using the logarithmic-mean Divisia Index method (LMDI) to investigate the overall change in CO2 emissions from 1993-2004 in the Swedish business and industry sectors, and to identify the most important factors explaining this change. We find that only four sectors (agriculture; pulp and paper; basic metal; land transportation), out of the eight sectors that each contribute with more than 5% of total CO2 emissions, contributed to a decrease in CO2 emissions through increased energy efficiency. Even more striking is the result that on the aggregate level for the whole economy and summarizing over the whole period 1993-2004, a slightly positive effect of energy effciency on CO2 emissions can be identified, while changes in relative size, i.e. overall structural change, and substitution to cleaner fuels have been more important regarding reductions in aggregate emissions.<p>
    Keywords: carbon emissions; energy efficiency; decomposition
    JEL: C02 Q40 Q54
    Date: 2008–06–24

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