New Economics Papers
on Efficiency and Productivity
Issue of 2010‒02‒05
eleven papers chosen by

  1. The Importance of Labour Mobility for Spillovers across Industries By Johannes Pöschl; Neil Foster
  2. Emissions Trends, Labour Productivity Dynamics and Time-Related Events - Sector Heterogeneous Analyses of Decoupling/Recoupling on a 1990-2006 NAMEA By Marin, Giovanni; Mazzanti, Massimiliano
  3. Labour Reallocation, Relative Prices and Productivity By Shutao Cao; Danny Leung
  4. Assessing the impact of infrastructure quality on firm productivity in Africa : cross-country comparisons based on investment climate surveys from 1999 to 2005 By Escribano, Alvaro; Guasch, J. Luis; Pena, Jorge
  5. New model of citizen participation: Identification of farming and forestry production systems in Leon and Chinandega departments, 2008-2009. By Zuniga Gonzalez, Carlos Alberto
  6. Productivity of Pesticides in Vegetable Farming in Nepal By Ratna Kumar Jha
  7. Volumes of Evidence - Examining Technical Change Last Century Through a New Lens By Michelle Alexopoulos; Jon Cohen
  8. Read All About it!! What happens following a technology shock? By Michelle Alexopoulos
  9. South African Agricultural Research and Development: A Century of Change By Liebenberg, Frikkie; Pardey, Philip G.; Kahn, Michael
  10. Traditional dynamics of output and factor income shares: lessons from East Germany By Simona E. Cociuba
  11. ‘Baumol’s diseases’: the case of Switzerland By Jochen Hartwig

  1. By: Johannes Pöschl (The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw); Neil Foster (The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw)
    Abstract: This paper addresses the link between productivity and labour mobility. The hypothesis tested in the paper is that technology is transmitted across industries through the movement of skilled workers embodying human capital. The embodied knowledge is then diffused within the new environment creating spillovers and leading to productivity improvements. A theoretical framework is presented wherein productivity growth is modelled through knowledge acquisition with respect to labour mobility. The empirical estimates confirm the existence of positive cross-sectoral knowledge spillovers and indicate that labour mobility has beneficial effects on industry productivity. Due to the fact that labour mobility is closely linked to input-output relations this finding provides evidence suggesting that part of the estimated productivity effects of domestic rent spillovers are in fact due to knowledge spillovers resulting from labour mobility.
    Keywords: knowledge spillovers, labour mobility, productivity, manufacturing, industry, human capital, growth
    JEL: J24 J60 O47
    Date: 2009–10
  2. By: Marin, Giovanni; Mazzanti, Massimiliano
    Abstract: This paper provides new empirical evidence on Environmental Kuznets Curves (EKC) for CO2 and air pollutants at sector level. A panel dataset based on the Italian NAMEA (National Accounting Matrix including Environmental Accounts) over 1990-2006 is analysed, focusing on both emissions efficiency (EKC model) and total emissions (IPAT model). Results show that, looking at sector evidence, both decoupling and also eventually re-coupling trends could emerge along the path of economic development. The overall performance on greenhouse gases, here CO2, is not compliant with Kyoto targets. SOx and NOx show decreasing patterns, though the shape is affected by some outlier sectors with regard to joint emission-productivity dynamics. Services tend to present stronger delinking patterns across emissions than manufacturing. Trade expansion validates the pollution haven in some cases, but also show negative signs when only EU15 trade is considered: this may due to technology spillovers and a positive ‘race to the top’ rather than the bottom among EU15 trade partners. General R&D expenditure show weak correlation with emissions efficiency. EKC and IPAT derived models provide similar conclusions overall. Finally, we used SUR estimators (Seemingly Unrelated Regressions) for EKC models on manufacturing to have more efficient panel estimates (constrained model) and to test for slope heterogeneity (unconstrained model): the empirical evidence for CO2 and SOx emissions suggests that of manufacturing the slope varies across sectors. Further research should be directed towards deeper investigation of trade relationship at sector level and increased research into and efforts to produce specific sectoral data on ‘environmental innovations’.
    Keywords: NAMEA, trade openness, labour productivity, STIRPAT, SURE
    JEL: Q55 C23 Q56 O40
    Date: 2009–10–16
  3. By: Shutao Cao; Danny Leung
    Abstract: This paper documents the rate at which labour flows between industries and between firms within industries using the most recent data available. It examines the determinants of these flows and their relationship with the productivity growth. It is found that the dispersion of industry employment growth rates has been elevated since 2005, and that this increase is not likely to be related to the business cycle. It is also found that changes in real exchange rates and commodity prices can account for a significant part of the employment dispersion across industries, especially since 2005. However, shifts of employment labour between industries have generally not contributed positively to aggregate labour productivity growth. With respect to movements of labour between firms within industries, it is found that the job reallocation rates have fallen steadily over the past decade and a half. Finally, unlike labour flows between industries, excess job reallocation rates within industries are found to be strongly related to multifactor productivity and labour productivity growth at the industry level.
    Keywords: Productivity; Inflation and prices; Labour markets
    JEL: D23 J6 E32
    Date: 2010
  4. By: Escribano, Alvaro; Guasch, J. Luis; Pena, Jorge
    Abstract: This paper provides a systematic, empirical assessment of the impact of infrastructure quality on the total factor productivity (TFP) of African manufacturing firms. This measure is understood to include quality in the provision of customs clearance, energy, water, sanitation, transportation, telecommunications, and information and communications technology (ICT). Microeconometric techniques to investment climate surveys (ICSs) of 26 African countries are carried out in different years during the period 2002–6, making country-specific evaluations of the impact of investment climate (IC) quality on aggregate TFP, average TFP, and allocative efficiency. For each country the impact is evaluated based on 10 different productivity measures. Results are robust once controlled for observable fixed effects (red tape, corruption and crime, finance, innovation and labor skills, etc.) obtained from the ICSs. African countries are ranked according to several indices: per capita income, ease of doing business, firm perceptions of growth bottlenecks, and the concept of demeaned productivity (Olley and Pakes 1996). The countries are divided into two blocks: high-income-growth and low-income-growth. Infrastructure quality has a low impact on TFP in countries of the first block and a high (negative) impact in countries of the second. There is significant heterogeneity in the individual infrastructure elements affecting countries from both blocks. Poor-quality electricity provision affects mainly poor countries, whereas problems dealing with customs while importing or exporting affects mainly faster-growing countries. Losses from transport interruptions affect mainly slower-growing countries. Water outages affect mainly slower-growing countries. There is also some heterogeneity among countries in the infrastructure determinants of the allocative efficiency of African firms.
    Keywords: Transport Economics Policy&Planning,Economic Theory&Research,E-Business,Labor Policies,Infrastructure Economics
    Date: 2010–01–01
  5. By: Zuniga Gonzalez, Carlos Alberto
    Abstract: This Paper is part of the Research: Analysis of the farming and forestry systems contribution in the local development municipalities of the Leon and Chinandega: a measure of its efficiency and productivity.
    Keywords: Production Model from Citizen Power, Production System, Production Cabinets., Institutional and Behavioral Economics, P: 25, P: 36, R: 28, R: 38, R: 58.,
    Date: 2010–01–23
  6. By: Ratna Kumar Jha
    Abstract: This paper examines the effectiveness of damage control mechanisms to reduce crop losses from agricultural pests. It uses data from a sample of Cole crop (Cauliflower and Cabbage) growing households in the Bhaktapur district of Nepal to study the impact of pesticides on agriculture production.
    Keywords: Marginal productivity, crop, Pesticide Productivity, Cole Crop, Damage Control, FFS, farmers, field, school, vegetable, farming, developing countries, agriculture production, nepal, agricultural pests, households, pesticide, profit-maximizing, India, education,
    Date: 2010
  7. By: Michelle Alexopoulos; Jon Cohen
    Abstract: Although technical change is central in much of modern economics, traditional measures of it are, for a number of reasons, flawed. We discuss in this paper new indicators based on data drawn from the MARC records of the Library of Congress on the number of new technology titles in various fields published in the United States over the course of the last century. These indicators, we argue, overcome many of the shortcomings associated with patents, research and development expenditures, innovation counts, and productivity figures. We find, among other things, the following: the pattern and nature of technical change described by our indicators is, on the whole, consistent with that of other measures; they represent innovation not diffusion; a strong causal relationship between our indicators and changes in TFP and output per capita; innovations in some sub-groups have had a greater impact on output and productivity than others and, moreover, the key players have changed over time. Our indicators can be used to shed light on number of important issues including the empirical relationship between technology shocks and employment, the role of technology in cross-country productivity differences, and the part played by technological change in growing skills premia in the U.S. during the last few decades.
    Keywords: Business Cycles, Technical change, productivity, measurement
    JEL: E3 O3 O4
    Date: 2010–01–26
  8. By: Michelle Alexopoulos
    Abstract: Existing indicators of technical change are plagued by shortcomings. I present here new measures based on books published in the field of technology that resolve many of these problems and use them to identify the impact of technology shocks on economic activity. They are positively linked to changes in R&D and scientific knowledge and capture the new technologies’ commercialization dates. Changes in information technology are found to be important sources of economic fluctuations in the post-WWII period and total factor productivity, investment and, to a lesser extent, labor are all shown to increase following a positive technology shock.
    Keywords: business cycles, technical change, information technologies
    JEL: E32 O3
    Date: 2010–01–26
  9. By: Liebenberg, Frikkie; Pardey, Philip G.; Kahn, Michael
    Abstract: The 20th Century saw substantive shifts in the structure of agriculture and agricultural production in South Africa. Farm size grew, farm numbers eventually declined, and production increasingly emphasized higher-valued commodities, notably a range of horticultural crops. The real gross value of agricultural output grew steadily (by 3.32 percent per year) from 1910-1981, but declined thereafter (by 0.21 percent per year from 1982-2008). These long-run sectoral changes provide a context to present and assess an entirely new data series on public agricultural R&D (and related regulatory and extension) spending and associated scientist trends. South African agricultural R&D has been affected by a series of major policy changes. These are also documented and discussed here, along with the associated institutional changes regarding the conduct and funding of public agricultural R&D in South Africa. We reveal a number of disturbing trends, including an effective flat lining of the long-run growth in total agricultural R&D spending that took hold in the 1970s, an erratic path of funding per scientist, and a loss of scientific personnel in recent decades. Moreover, South Africa has lost ground relative to its competitors in international commodity markets such as the United States and Australia in terms of the intensity of investment in agricultural R&D. These developments are likely to have long-term, and detrimental, consequences for the productivity performance and competiveness of South African agriculture. They deserve serious policy attention as the 21st Century unfolds, with a firm eye to the long-run given the long lags (often many decades) that typify the relationship between agricultural R&D spending and productivity growth.
    Keywords: Research and Development/Tech Change/Emerging Technologies,
    Date: 2010–01
  10. By: Simona E. Cociuba
    Abstract: I evaluate the quantitative implications of technology change and government policies for output and factor income shares during East Germany's transition since 1990. I model an economy that gains access to a high productivity technology embodied in new plants. As existing low productivity plants decrease production, the capital income share varies due to variation in the profit share of these plants. Two policies - transfers and government-mandated wage increases - have opposite effects on output growth, but both contribute to reducing the capital share during the transition. The model's output and capital share line up with counterparts in East German data.
    Keywords: Income distribution ; Economic development ; Technology - Economic aspects ; Productivity ; Capital investments ; Wages
    Date: 2010
  11. By: Jochen Hartwig (KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich, Switzerland)
    Abstract: Nordhaus (2008) has developed a testing strategy for what he calls ‘Baumol’s diseases’, by which name he designates a number of by-products of structural change that are unwanted from an economic policy perspective. He finds that the U.S. economy is strongly affected by the ‘diseases’. This paper applies Nordhaus’s testing methodology to Swiss data. The results suggest that – unlike the U.S. – Switzerland is not affected by the most serious of the ‘diseases’, namely the negative impact of structural change on economic growth.
    Keywords: Baumol’s disease, productivity growth, Switzerland
    JEL: C12 C23 O41 O47 O52
    Date: 2010–01

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