New Economics Papers
on Efficiency and Productivity
Issue of 2008‒08‒14
six papers chosen by

  1. What Do Japanese Unions Do for Productivity?: An Empirical Analysis Using Firm-Level Data By MORIKAWA Masayuki
  2. Solow Residuals without Capital Stocks By Michael C. Burda; Battista Severgnini
  3. Does Openness to International Financial Flows Contribute to Productivity Growth? By Kose, M. Ayhan; Prasad, Eswar; Terrones, Marco E.
  4. Transit costs and cost efficiency: bootstrapping non-parametric frontiers By De Borger B.; Kerstens K.; Staat M.
  5. The Effect of Talent Disparity on Team Performance By Egon Franck; Stephan NŸesch
  6. Recent Trends and Structural Breaks in US and EU15 Labour Productivity Growth By Laure Turner; Hervé Boulhol

  1. By: MORIKAWA Masayuki
    Abstract: This paper empirically analyzes the relationship between union presence and firm performance in areas such as productivity and profitability by using data on a large number of Japanese firms, covering both manufacturing and non-manufacturing industries. Results indicate that the presence of labor unions has large positive effects on productivity level and growth. The effects of union presence on wages are also positive and the magnitude is similar to that of productivity. I find no negative effect for the presence of unions on firm profitability. These results differ from studies in the U.S. The number of employees decreases more for unionized firms than non-unionized firms. Most of the difference in employment is attributable to the change in the number of part-time workers. In order to enhance the productivity of the service sector, close cooperation between management and unions is required.
    Date: 2008–07
  2. By: Michael C. Burda; Battista Severgnini
    Abstract: For more than fifty years, the Solow decomposition (Solow 1957) has served as the standard measurement of total factor productivity (TFP) growth in economics and management, yet little is known about its precision, especially when the capital stock is poorly measured. Using synthetic data generated from a prototypical stochastic growth model, we explore the quantitative extent of capital measurement error when the initial condition is unknown to the analyst and when capacity utilization and depreciation are endogenous. We propose two alternative measurements which eliminate capital stocks from the decomposition and significantly outperform the conventional Solow residual, reducing the root mean squared error in simulated data by as much as two-thirds. This improvement is inversely related to the sample size as well as proximity to the steady state. As an application, we compute and compare TFP growth estimates using data from the new and old German federal states.
    Keywords: Total factor productivity, Solow residual, generalized differences, measurement error, Malmquist index
    JEL: D24 E01 E22 O33 O47
    Date: 2008–08
  3. By: Kose, M. Ayhan (International Monetary Fund); Prasad, Eswar (Cornell University); Terrones, Marco E. (International Monetary Fund)
    Abstract: Economic theory has identified a number of channels through which openness to international financial flows could raise productivity growth. However, while there is a vast empirical literature analyzing the impact of financial openness on output growth, far less attention has been paid to its effects on productivity growth. This paper provides a comprehensive analysis of the relationship between financial openness and total factor productivity (TFP) growth using an extensive dataset that includes various measures of productivity and financial openness for a large sample of countries. We find that de jure capital account openness has a robust positive effect on TFP growth. The effect of de facto financial integration on TFP growth is less clear, but this masks an important and novel result. We find strong evidence that FDI and portfolio equity liabilities boost TFP growth while external debt is actually negatively correlated with TFP growth. The negative relationship between external debt liabilities and TFP growth is attenuated in economies with higher levels of financial development and better institutions.
    Keywords: financial openness, capital account liberalization, capital flows, external assets and liabilities, foreign direct investment, portfolio equity, debt, total factor productivity
    JEL: F41 F36 F43
    Date: 2008–08
  4. By: De Borger B.; Kerstens K.; Staat M.
    Abstract: This paper explores a selection of recently proposed bootstrapping techniques to estimate non-parametric convex (DEA) cost frontiers and efficiency scores for transit firms. Using a sample of Norwegian bus operators, the key results can be summarised as follows: (i) the bias implied by uncorrected cost efficiency measures is numerically important (close to 25%), (ii) the bootstrapped-based test rejects the constant returns to scale hypothesis (iii) explaining patterns of efficiency scores using a two-stage bootstrapping approach detects only one significant covariate, in contrast to earlier results highlighting, e.g., the positive impact of high-powered contract types. Finally, comparing the average inefficiency obtained for the Norwegian data set with an analogous estimate for a smaller French sample illustrates how the estimated differences in average efficiency almost disappear once sample size differences are accounted for.
    Date: 2008–06
  5. By: Egon Franck (Institute for Strategy and Business Economics, University of Zurich); Stephan NŸesch (Institute for Strategy and Business Economics, University of Zurich)
    Abstract: This paper studies the relationship between talent disparity and team productivity based on panel data from German soccer teams. Holding average ability and unobserved team heterogeneity constant, we find evidence that the players selected to play on the competition team should be rather homogeneous regarding their playing talent. If, however, the team is defined at the preparatory stage, which includes all training activities, talent disparity turns out to be beneficial. In a first model, we analyze match-level data to test the talent composition effects of the fielded team on the final score of the game. In a second model, we include the reserve players as well and relate talent differences within the entire squad to the teamÕs (inverted) league standing at the end of the season as the ultimate measure of long-run team effectiveness. At the competition stage of team production, the gameÕs result depends on all team members performing at or above some threshold level of proficiency. At the preparatory stage of team production, however, aspects like mutual learning seem to be more important.
    Keywords: Talent Disparity, Team Productivity; Sports Economics, Soccer
    JEL: D23 D24 J44 L83
    Date: 2008
  6. By: Laure Turner; Hervé Boulhol
    Abstract: This paper examines shifts in labour productivity growth in the United States and in Europe between 1970 and 2007 based on econometric tests of structural breaks. Additionally, it makes use of time-series-based projected labour productivity growth up to 2009 in order to detect any recent break according to a central scenario as well as high and low scenarios, both derived from a 95% confidence interval. The identification of structural breaks in US labour productivity growth is far from obvious. A statistically significant break date is found in the late 1990s only if the upper scenario materialises in the future, which means that despite a clear pick-up in productivity growth in the second half of the 1990s, the size of the hump is not still large enough compared with past variation to make this change a statistically significant break. However, a significant breakpoint is detected in the mid-1990s for the difference in labour productivity growth between the United States and the EU15 based on observed data, which seems to be due to both the initial catch-up of Europe and the halt of the convergence process in the mid-1990s. Finally, European ICT-intensive countries are shown to have structurally performed better in terms of productivity growth than non-ICT-intensive countries. <P>Tendances récentes et ruptures structurelles de la croissance de la productivité du travail aux États-Unis et dans UE15 <BR>Ce papier étudie les changements structurels dans la croissance de productivité du travail aux États-Unis et en Europe entre 1970 et 2007 à partir de tests de rupture de tendance. Il incorpore également des prévisions de la croissance de la productivité du travail jusqu’en 2009 afin de détecter des ruptures récentes selon un scénario central, ainsi que haut et bas tous deux définis à partir d’un intervalle de confiance à 95%. Premièrement, l’identification de ruptures structurelles dans la croissance de la productivité du travail aux États-Unis ne va pas de soi. Une rupture à la fin des années 1990 est mise en évidence seulement si le scenario haut est amené à se réaliser dans le futur, ce qui signifie que malgré la réelle hausse de la croissance de la productivité américaine dans la seconde moitié des années 1990, seuls des chiffres à venir élevés feraient de ce changement une rupture statistiquement significative au regard des variations passées. Cependant, sur la période observée, la différence entre les taux de croissance américain et européen de la productivité du travail présente une rupture significative au milieu des années 1990, qui semble due au rattrapage de l’Europe et à l’arrêt de la convergence au milieu des années 1990. Enfin, les pays Européens dont l’accumulation de capital dans les TIC a été plus intensive ont eu une croissance de la productivité structurellement plus forte que les pays dont l’investissement a été moindre.
    Keywords: ICT, TIC, labour productivity growth, structural break tests, croissance de la productivité du travail, tests de rupture structurelle
    JEL: E30 O47 O51 O52
    Date: 2008–08–04

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