New Economics Papers
on Efficiency and Productivity
Issue of 2011‒12‒19
thirty papers chosen by

  1. Chinaâs Electricity Market Reform and Power Plants Efficiency By Ma, Chunbo; Zhao, Xiaoli; Ma, Qian; Zhao, Yue
  2. The shape of aggregate production functions: evidence from estimates of the World Technology Frontier By Jakub Growiec; Anna Pajor; Dorota Pelle; Artur Prędki
  3. Innovation and Foreign Technology in Italy,1861-2011 By Federico Barbiellini Amidei; John Cantwell; Anna Spadavecchia
  4. Does Labor Diversity affect Firm Productivity? By Pierpaolo Parrotta; Dario Pozzoli; Mariola Pytlikova
  5. Efficiency decomposition approach: A cross-country airline analysis By Gramani, Maria Cristina N.
  6. A Sectoral Analysis of Italy’s Development, 1861-2011 By Stephen Broadberry; Claire Giordano; Francesco Zollino
  7. Understanding the linkage between agricultural productivity and nutrient consumption: Evidence from Uganda By Ulimwengu, John; Liverpool-Tasie, Saweda; Randriamamonjy, Josee; Ramadan, Racha
  8. Transparency, entry, and productivity By Gu, Yiquan; Wenzel, Tobias
  9. Analysing agricultural productivity growth in a framework of institutional quality By Nomman Ahmed, Mirza; Maas, Sarah; Schmitz, P. Michael
  10. The wage and employment policy impact for productive sectors in Nicaragua, 1994-2010 By Zuniga Gonzalez, Carlos Alberto
  11. Impact of regional airline's efficiency: a country-specific study over successive time periods By Gramani, Maria Cristina N.
  12. Intensive Agriculture: Is for Small Farmers a Development and Productive Strategy? By Vivas Viachica, Elgin Antonio
  13. Effects of Deregulation and Vertical Unbundling on the Performance of China's Electricity Generation Sector By Gao, Hang; Van Biesebroeck, Johannes
  14. Business networks, production chains and productivity: A theory of input-output architecture By Ezra Oberfield
  15. The Impact of Capital Measurement Error Correction on Firm-Level Production Function Estimation By Kamil Galuscak; Lubomir Lizal
  16. Corporate Governance, Opaque Bank Activities, and Risk/Return Efficiency: Pre- and Post-Crisis Evidence from Turkey By De Jonghe, O.G.; Disli, M.; Schoors, K.
  17. Innovation, Research and Development, and Productivity: Case Studies from Peru By Juana Kuramoto
  18. Employment Protection and Productivity: Evidence from firm-level panel data in Japan By OKUDAIRA Hiroko; TAKIZAWA Miho; TSURU Kotaro
  19. Channels of Size Adjustment and Firm Performance By Holger Breinlich; Stefan Niemann; Edna Solomon
  20. A Note on Schooling in Development Accounting By Francesco Caselli; Antonio Ciccone
  21. Analyses on efficiency of national innovation system for BRICS and the influencing factors: A comparative study based on DEA and panel data analysis By Cai, Yuezhou
  22. Fact or artefact : the impact of measurement errors on the farm size - productivity relationship By Carletto, Calogero; Savastano, Sara; Zezza, Alberto
  23. Cost of production estimates for wheat, milk and pigs in selected EU member states By Kleinhanss, Werner; Offermann, Frank; Butault, Jean-Pierre; Surry, Yves
  24. Lying about firm performance: Evidence from a survey in Nigeria By Clarke, George
  25. Structural change and human capital in Italy’s productive economy By Roberto Torrini; Fabiano Schivardi
  26. Does School Autonomy Make Sense Everywhere? Panel Estimates from PISA By Hanushek, Eric A.; Link, Susanne; Woessmann, Ludger
  27. Innovation, Diffusion, and Trade: Theory and Measurement By Santacreu, Ana Maria
  28. Estimating Verdoorn law for Italian firms and regions By Fazio, Giorgio; Maltese, Enza; Piacentino, Davide
  29. Barriers to energy efficiency improvement: Empirical evidence from small-and-medium sized enterprises in China By Kostka, Genia; Moslener, Ulf; Andreas, Jan G.
  30. Cereal production and technology adoption in Ethiopia: By Yu, Bingxin; Nin-Pratt, Alejandro; Funes, José; Gemessa, Sinafikeh Asrat

  1. By: Ma, Chunbo; Zhao, Xiaoli; Ma, Qian; Zhao, Yue
    Abstract: In the past three decades, Chinese electricity industry has experienced a series of regulatory reforms serving different purposes at different stages. In 2002, the former vertically integrated electricity utility - the State Power Corporation (SPC) â was divested and the generation sector was separated from the transmission and distribution networks in an effort to improve production efficiency. In this paper we study the impact of the reform on efficiency of fossil-fired power plants using plant-level data during 2000-2008. Our results from the data envelopment analysis (DEA) and panel regressions show that: 1) the total factor productivity (TFP) growth mainly comes from technological change; 2) the technical efficiency of previously SPC-managed power plants is converging to that of better-performing independent power producers (IPPs); 3) capacity utilization and unit size are significant factors affecting changes in technical efficiency and the pattern of converging technical efficiency between the two kinds of power plants; 4) most plants operate at increasing returns to scale indicating further cost savings could be achieved through increasing output.
    Keywords: Efficiency, DEA, Malmquist Index, China, Electricity, Industrial Organization, Productivity Analysis, Resource /Energy Economics and Policy, D24, L11, L51, L94, L98,
    Date: 2011–11–07
  2. By: Jakub Growiec (National Bank of Poland, Economic Institute); Anna Pajor (Cracow University of Economics); Dorota Pelle (Warsaw School of Economics); Artur Prędki (Cracow University of Economics)
    Abstract: The article provides multifaceted evidence on the shape of the aggregate country-level production function, derived from the World Technology Frontier, estimated on the basis of annual data on inputs and output in 19 highly developed OECD countries in the period 1970–2004. A comparison of its estimates based on Data Envelopment Analysis and Bayesian Stochastic Frontier Analysis uncovers a number of significant discrepancies between the nonparametric estimates of the frontier and the Cobb–Douglas and translog production functions in terms of implied efficiency levels, partial elasticities, and returns-to-scale properties. Furthermore, the two latter characteristics as well as elasticities of substitution are found to differ markedly across countries and time, providing strong evidence against the constant-returns-to-scale (CRS) Cobb–Douglas specification, frequently used in related literature. We also find notable departures from perfect substitutability between unskilled and skilled labor, consistent with the hypotheses of skill-biased technical change and capital–skill complementarity. In the Appendix, as a corollary from our results, we have also conducted a series of development accounting and growth accounting exercises.
    Keywords: world technology frontier, aggregate production function, Data Envelopment Analysis, Stochastic Frontier Analysis, partial elasticity, returns to scale, substitutability
    JEL: E23 O11 O14 O33 O47
    Date: 2011
  3. By: Federico Barbiellini Amidei (Bank of Italy); John Cantwell (Rutgers University); Anna Spadavecchia (University of Reading)
    Abstract: The paper explores the long run evolution of Italy’s performance in technological innovation as a function of international technology transfer, reconstructing the different phases and dimensions of Italian innovative activity, tracking the transfer of foreign technological knowledge through a number of channels, analysing the impact of imported technology. The study is based on a newly constructed dataset, over the 1861-2009 period, composed of variables related to: innovation activity performance; foreign technology transfer; domestic absorptive and innovative capability. The analysis highlights, also by econometric assessment, the significant contribution of foreign technology both to innovation activity results and to productivity growth. Differences across channels of technology transfer and historical phases emerge, also in connection with the evolution of human capital endowment and domestic innovative capacity. Machinery imports contributed positively both to innovation activity and to productivity growth; inward FDI contributed positively to productivity growth, but not to indigenous innovation activity; the accumulation of technical human capital fuelled both. In the long Italian Golden Age, for the first time the association of foreign technological knowledge with indigenous innovation processes strengthened productivity significantly. More recently instead the dismal productivity growth is negatively associated with formalised innovation activity under-performance and reduced imports of disembodied technology
    Keywords: Italy,Technology Transfer,Innovation,Absorptive Capability,Patenting
    JEL: N10 O31 O33 F23 O19
    Date: 2011–10
  4. By: Pierpaolo Parrotta (Aarhus University and University of Lausanne); Dario Pozzoli (Aarhus University, Department of Economics and Centre for Research in Integration and Marginalization (CIM)); Mariola Pytlikova (Aarhus Univserity, Centre for Corporate Performance (CCP) and Centre for Research in Integration and Marginalization (CIM))
    Abstract: Using a matched employer-employee data-set, we analyze how workforce diversity in cultural background, education and demographic characteristics affects productivity of firms in Denmark. Implementing a structural estimation of the firms' production function (Ackerberg et al., 2006) we find that labor diversity in education significantly enhances a firm's value added. Hence, the negative effects, coming from communication and integration costs connected to a more culturally and demographically diverse workforce, seem to outweigh the positive effects coming from creativity and knowledge spillovers.
    Keywords: Labor diversity, skill complementarity, communication barriers, total factor productivity.
    JEL: C23 J24 L20
    Date: 2011–12
  5. By: Gramani, Maria Cristina N.
    Date: 2011–10
  6. By: Stephen Broadberry (London School of Economics); Claire Giordano (Bank of Italy); Francesco Zollino (Bank of Italy)
    Abstract: Italy’s economic growth over its 150 years of unified history did not occur at a steady pace nor was it balanced across sectors. Relying on an entirely new input (labour and capital) database by us built and presented in the Appendix, together with new Banca d’Italia estimates of GDP by sector, this paper evaluates the different labour productivity growth trends within the Italian economy’s sectors, as well as the contribution of structural change to productivity growth. Italy’s performance is then set in an international context: a comparison of sectoral labour productivity growth rates and levels within a selected sample of countries (UK, US, Germany, Japan, India) allows us to better time, quantify and gauge the causes of Italy’s catching-up process and subsequent more recent slowdown. Finally, the paper analyses the proximate sources of Italy’s growth, relative to the other countries, in a standard growth accounting framework, in an attempt also to disentangle the contribution of both total factor productivity growth and capital deepening to the country’s labour productivity dynamics.
    Keywords: Labour productivity, sectoral disaggregation, international comparison, growth accounting
    JEL: N10 N30 O47 O57
    Date: 2011–10
  7. By: Ulimwengu, John; Liverpool-Tasie, Saweda; Randriamamonjy, Josee; Ramadan, Racha
    Keywords: Agricultural productivity, Consumption, Nutrients, malnutrition, production model, structural equations model (SEM),
    Date: 2011
  8. By: Gu, Yiquan; Wenzel, Tobias
    Abstract: This paper studies the relationship between transparency on the consumer side and productivity of firms. We show that more transparent markets are characterized by higher average productivity as firms with low productivity abstain from entering these markets. --
    Keywords: Market Transparency,Firm Productivity,Salop Model,Heterogeneous Firms
    JEL: D24 L13 L15
    Date: 2011
  9. By: Nomman Ahmed, Mirza; Maas, Sarah; Schmitz, P. Michael
    Abstract: This paper addresses the question whether the institutional environment of transition countries in Eastern Europe affects productivity growth in the agricultural sector. Situated in a neoclassical growth framework, a dynamic panel model for the period 1996-2005 provides evidence that poor institutional quality leads to a slowdown in agricultural productivity growth. Productivity growth is limited by a high degree of corruption, which is of particular importance given that corruption has been proven to be most prevalent in Eastern European countries. Moreover, agricultural productivity in countries where privatisation and transferability of land is restricted is found to grow at a slower rate than countries supporting market-oriented land reforms. Interestingly, the results suggest that a high degree of openness leads to a loss in agricultural productivity, suggesting that timing and sequencing of trade reforms matter. An improvement of the poor institutional quality is thus of central importance to accelerate productivity growth in Eastern European countries. --
    Keywords: Eastern Europe,Transition,Productivity growth
    Date: 2010
  10. By: Zuniga Gonzalez, Carlos Alberto
    Abstract: This paper is a serie work as Researching Centre for Agrarian Sciences and Applied Economic contribution to rural development.
    Keywords: Malmquist Index, Economic Growth, Economic Sub sector, Wage Policy, Employ Policy, Total factor Productivity (TFP, Productivity Analysis, E:58, E:61, O:11, O:47,
    Date: 2011–12–01
  11. By: Gramani, Maria Cristina N.
    Date: 2011–10
  12. By: Vivas Viachica, Elgin Antonio
    Abstract: This paper was submitted in the III National Congress of Rural Development during 24-25 November 2011. UPOLI Nicaragua.
    Keywords: Intensification, Extensive, Productivity, Agricultural Finance, Productivity Analysis, D: 24, L: 25, P: 42,
    Date: 2011–11–28
  13. By: Gao, Hang; Van Biesebroeck, Johannes
    Abstract: We study whether the 2002 deregulation and vertical unbundling of the Chinese electricity sector has boosted productivity in the generation segment of the industry. Controlling explicitly for sources of price-heterogeneity across firms and for firm-fixed effects, we find deregulation to be associated with a reduction in labor input and material use of 6 and 4 percent, respectively. This effect only appears two years after the reforms, is robust to alternative ways of identifying restructured firms, and to the nonrandom selection of restructured firms using a matching estimator. Input use of new state-owned firms that start operations two years into the reform period does not differ significantly anymore from input use of private sector entrants.
    Keywords: Productivity; regulation
    JEL: L5 L9 O4
    Date: 2011–12
  14. By: Ezra Oberfield
    Abstract: This paper studies an analytically tractable model of the formation and evolution of chains of production. Over time, entrepreneurs accumulate techniques to produce their good using goods produced by other entrepreneurs and labor as inputs. The value of a technique depends on both the productivity embodied in the technique and the cost of the particular input; when producing, each entrepreneur selects the technique that delivers the best combination. The collection of known production techniques form a dynamic network of potential chains of production: the input-output architecture of the economy. Aggregate productivity depends on whether the lower cost firms are the important suppliers of inputs. When the share of intermediate goods in production is high, the lower cost firms are selected as suppliers more frequently. This raises aggregate productivity and also increases the concentration of sales of intermediate goods.
    Keywords: Productivity ; Labor market
    Date: 2011
  15. By: Kamil Galuscak; Lubomir Lizal
    Abstract: Based on a large panel of Czech manufacturing firms, we estimate firm-level production functions in 2003–2007 using the Levinsohn and Petrin (2003) and Wooldridge (2009) approaches, correcting for the measurement error in capital. We show that measurement error plays a significant role in the size of the estimated capital coefficient. The capital coefficient estimate approximately doubles (depending on the particular industry) when we control for capital measurement error. Consequently, while the majority of industries exhibit constant or (in)significantly decreasing returns to scale when the standard methods are used, increasing returns cannot be rejected in some industries when the estimation is corrected for capital measurement error.
    Keywords: Capital, firm-level data, measurement error.
    JEL: C23 C33 D24 O47
    Date: 2011–11
  16. By: De Jonghe, O.G.; Disli, M.; Schoors, K. (Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research)
    Abstract: Does better corporate governance unambiguously improve the risk/return efficiency of banks? Or does either a re-orientation of banks' revenue mix towards more opaque products, an economic downturn, or tighter supervision create off-setting or reinforcing effects? The authors relate bank efficiency to shortfalls from a stochastic risk/return frontier. They analyze how internal governance mechanisms (CEO duality, board experience, political connections, and education profile) and external governance mechanisms (discipline exerted by shareholders, depositors, or skilled employees) determine efficiency in a sample of Turkish banks. The 2000 financial crisis was a wakeup call for bank efficiency and corporate governance. As a result, better corporate governance mechanisms have been able to improve risk/return efficiency when the economic, regulatory, and supervisory environments are more stable and bank products are more complex.
    Keywords: corporate governance;bank risk;noninterest income;crisis;frontier.
    JEL: G01 G21 G28
    Date: 2011
  17. By: Juana Kuramoto
    Abstract: This paper analyzes quantitative findings on the innovative behavior of firms in the production chains of pisco and shoe manufacture in Peru, which are served by the network of Technological Innovation Centers (CITEs), the most important technology policy instrument available in Peru. These two chains, in low and medium-technology industries, are representative of Peru’s manufacturing sector. Of particular interest is the role of technical standards as a means of technological diffusion, which is stressed in the work of the CITEs. For the pisco chain, that role involves the definition of the product itself, for which Peru is seeking a World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) denomination. In the shoe chain, the technical standard should act as a coordination mechanism that will help increase efficiency throughout the chain, which at present is often fractured.
    JEL: O14 O25 O33
    Date: 2011–06
  18. By: OKUDAIRA Hiroko; TAKIZAWA Miho; TSURU Kotaro
    Abstract: Recent developments in the literature on employment protection legislation (EPL) have revealed that changing the stringency of employment protection can lead to extensive consequences outside of the labour market, by affecting firms' production decisions or workers' commitment levels. This paper provides the first empirical evaluation of the comprehensive effect of restrictions on firing employees in Japan, by exploiting the variations in court decisions. We find that judgments lenient to workers significantly reduce firms' total-factor productivity growth rate. The effect on capital is mixed and inconclusive, although we obtain modest evidence that an increase in firing costs induces a negative scale effect on capital inputs.
    Date: 2011–12
  19. By: Holger Breinlich; Stefan Niemann; Edna Solomon
    Abstract: We use unique business register data for the United Kingdom to investigate the effects of different forms of firm expansion and contraction on firm-level performance indicators such as wages and productivity. We distinguish between adjustment of employment and turnover at existing establishments, expansions and contractions taking place via greenfield investment and disinvestment, and via acquisitions and sell-offs. We show that the choice of adjustment channel has important implications for the evolution of firm-level performance indicators. In terms of aggregate importance, we demonstrate that the two external adjustment forms (greenfield and M&A) account for at least 50% of the changes in aggregate wages, profits and productivity associated with firm expansions and contractions.
    Date: 2011–12–14
  20. By: Francesco Caselli; Antonio Ciccone
    Abstract: How much would output increase if underdeveloped economies were to increase their levels of schooling? We contribute to the development accounting literature by describing a nonparametric upper bound on the increase in output that can be generated by more schooling. The advantage of our approach is that the upper bound is valid for any number of schooling levels with arbitrary patterns of substitution/complementarity. We also quantify the upper bound for all economies with the necessary data, compare our results with the standard development accounting approach, and provide an update on the results using the standard approach for a large sample of countries.
    Keywords: schooling, production, efficiency, human capital, development accounting,growth accounting
    JEL: I28 J24
    Date: 2011–12
  21. By: Cai, Yuezhou
    Abstract: Efficiency scores of the National Innovation System (NIS) for 22 countries, including the BRICS, G7, are calculated with the Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA). Relevant factors that may affect the innovation system efficiency are summarized based on the NIS Approach and the New Growth Theory. Empirical study is further made with the Panel Data Analysis (PDA) and the Principal Component Analysis. The results of efficiency calculation and empirical test show that: (1) The BRICS differ greatly in the efficiency of NIS, with China, India and Russia ranking fairly high, and Brazil, South Africa among the few bottom; (2) The influencing factors involve a lot of elements, including the ICT infrastructure, enterprise R&D, market environment, government governance, education system, economic scale, natural endowments, external dependence, which is conformed to the NIS approach and New Growth Theory; (3) Enterprises innovation activities are of key importance to the NIS. To improve the efficiency of the innovation system, efforts should be made to improve the market circumstance, governance, and financial structure, and create a sound environment for innovation. (4) ICT infrastructure, economic scale and openness affect the diffusion of knowledge and technology, and in turn the NIS efficiency. (5) The BRICS have characters of low governance level and high natural resources dependency in common, which is determined by their developing stage and extensive growth pattern. To avoid the so called middle-income trap in the coming future, the BRICS should dedicate to transform the factor-driven pattern to an innovation-driven one. As for China, there is still much to be improved in the fields of ICT infrastructure, government governance, education system. During the 12th Planning, more efforts should be put into these fields and make better external conditions for innovation activities. --
    Keywords: The BRICS,National Innovation System (NIS),NIS efficiency,Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA),Panel Data Analysis (PDA)
    JEL: O30 O57 P52
    Date: 2011
  22. By: Carletto, Calogero; Savastano, Sara; Zezza, Alberto
    Abstract: This paper revisits the role of land measurement error in the inverse farm size and productivity relationship. By making use of data from a nationally representative household survey from Uganda, in which self-reported land size information is complemented by plot measurements collected using Global Position System devices, the authors reject the hypothesis that the inverse relationship may just be a statistical artifact linked to problems with land measurement error. In particular, the paper explores: (i) the determinants of the bias in land measurement, (ii) how this bias varies systematically with plot size and landholding, and (iii) the extent to which land measurement error affects the relative advantage of smallholders implied by the inverse relationship. The findings indicate that using an improved measure of land size strengthens the evidence in support of the existence of the inverse relationship.
    Keywords: Rural Development Knowledge&Information Systems,Regional Economic Development,Land Use and Policies,Rural Land Policies for Poverty Reduction,E-Business
    Date: 2011–12–01
  23. By: Kleinhanss, Werner; Offermann, Frank; Butault, Jean-Pierre; Surry, Yves
    Abstract: Summary: This study summarizes cost estimates based on the EU Farm Accountancy Data Network using the General Cost of Production Model, developed, applied and tested within the FACEPA project. Results are provided for wheat, pigs and milk for the main producer countries of the EU for the period 1999 to 2007. Estimated input-output coefficients are generally based on monetary figures, expressing cost shares referring to total output. Effects of scale, specialization and location can be derived by estimates based on respective sub-samples. Costs per unit are derived based on input-output coefficients and output values, providing costs per hectare or ton for wheat and per ton of milk. There is a considerable variation between Member States not only of production costs, but also of output, and output plus subsidies (due to the national implementations of full or partially decoupling schemes), especially for wheat and milk. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ---------------- Zusammenfassung: In dieser Studie werden Schätzungen von Produktionskosten basierend auf EU-Testbetriebsdaten unter Verwendung eines in dem EU-Forschungsprojekt FACEPA entwickelten Modells durchgeführt. Ergebnisse werden bereitgestellt für Weizen, Milch sowie für Schweine für die Hauptproduktionsländer der EU und für den Zeitraum 1999 bis 2007. Die geschätzten Input-Output Koeffizienten drücken die durchschnittlichen Kostenteile zum monetären Output des zugrundeliegenden Samples dar. Einflussfaktoren auf die Kosten wie BetriebsgröÃe, Standort und Spezialisierung können mittels Schätzung auf Basis entsprechend geschichteter Samples analysiert werden. Die Kosten je Einheit werden basierend auf den Schätzkoeffizienten und Outputs abgeleitet, und zwar je Hektar (für Weizen) sowie je Tonne für Weizen und Milch. Zwischen den Mitgliedstaaten bestehen erhebliche Unterschiede sowohl bei den Produktionskosten, dem monetären Output als auch den gekoppelten Direktzahlungen vor allem für Weizen und Milch.
    Keywords: econometric analysis, production costs, ökonometrische Analyse, Produktionskosten, Agricultural and Food Policy, Farm Management, Production Economics, Research Methods/ Statistical Methods, C39, Q12,
    Date: 2011–11
  24. By: Clarke, George
    Abstract: It is difficult to be sure that managers in developing countries report financial information accurately and truthfully during firm surveys. The most common concern is that managers might under-report performance to avoid attracting attention from the tax authorities or corrupt bureaucrats. Using a method developed in the literature on corruption, this paper identifies managers who appear to be reticent or deceptive and compares their answers with the answers of non-reticent managers. The paper shows that reticent managers report that their firms are more, not less, productive than non-reticent managers. The paper then assesses possible reasons for this, finding that the most likely explanation is that reticent managers exaggerate performance so that they or their firms look good. Because past studies have found that reticent managers appear to lie about other aspects of firm and manager behavior—including underreporting corruption—this suggests that it will be difficult to fully assess how these behaviors affect firm performance unless reticence is controlled for.
    Keywords: Reticence; Nigeria; Firm Surveys; Corruption; Labor Productivity
    JEL: D73 C42 O12
    Date: 2011–12–11
  25. By: Roberto Torrini (Bank of Italy and ANVUR); Fabiano Schivardi (Cagliari University and EIEF)
    Abstract: We study the role of human capital in the restructuring of the Italian economy. The share of university graduates in the population has long been far lower in Italy (12 per cent in 2007) that in the rest of Europe (24 per cent). The 3+2 reform of Italian degree programmes has significantly increased the supply of graduates, mostly absorbed by the private sector. Firm-level evidence shows that the growth in graduate employment is due almost entirely to a “within” firm component rather than to a shift of the productive structure from low to high human capital activities. We also find that a higher share of university graduates at local level is positively associated with restructuring activities and with productivity growth. This suggests that increasing the workforce’s level of educational attainment is crucial to overcome the stagnation in productivity that has characterized the Italian economy since the mid-nineties.
    Keywords: human capital, tertiary education, firm restructuring, growth
    JEL: J24
    Date: 2011–11
  26. By: Hanushek, Eric A. (Stanford University); Link, Susanne (Ifo Institute for Economic Research); Woessmann, Ludger (Ifo Institute for Economic Research)
    Abstract: Decentralization of decision-making is among the most intriguing recent school reforms, in part because countries went in opposite directions over the past decade and because prior evidence is inconclusive. We suggest that autonomy may be conducive to student achievement in well-developed systems but detrimental in low-performing systems. We construct a panel dataset from the four waves of international PISA tests spanning 2000-2009, comprising over one million students in 42 countries. Relying on panel estimation with country fixed effects, we identify the effect of school autonomy from within-country changes in the average share of schools with autonomy over key elements of school operations. Our results show that autonomy affects student achievement negatively in developing and low-performing countries, but positively in developed and high-performing countries. These results are unaffected by a wide variety of robustness and specification tests, providing confidence in the need for nuanced application of reform ideas.
    Keywords: school autonomy, decentralization, developing countries, educational production, international student achievement tests, panel estimation
    JEL: I20 O15 H75 I25
    Date: 2011–12
  27. By: Santacreu, Ana Maria
    Abstract: Growth and imports are correlated across countries, but the mechanisms underlying this relationship are not well understood. I develop a multi-country model in which imports and growth are connected by technological innovations and their international diffusion through trade. Fitting the model to data on innovation, productivity, and trade in varieties, I find that most of the growth-imports correlation is explained by these two mechanisms. I also find that the trade channel has been particularly important in developing countries, accounting for about three-fourths of their growth. Finally, I run counterfactuals analysis.
    Keywords: Trade; productivity; innovation; technology diffusion; growth
    JEL: O47 O30 F12 F43
    Date: 2011–12–07
  28. By: Fazio, Giorgio; Maltese, Enza; Piacentino, Davide
    Abstract: In empirical regional economics, returns to scale are typically estimated at the regional level in search for evidence on alternative theories of growth and agglomeration. However, returns to scale may also have a firm-level dimension. In this paper, we exploit micro level data and estimate the dynamic Verdoorn law in a multilevel-setting, where returns to scale are obtained simultaneously for the micro and the regional level. Using Italian firm-level data and the NUTS-3 level of aggregation, we estimate the classic and augmented versions of Verdoorn law for all sectors and separately for manufacturing. Our results show that increasing returns to scale co-exist at both levels, with some degree of regional heterogeneity across the Italian peninsula.
    Keywords: Returns to scale; Verdoorn Law; Multilevel models; Italian firms
    JEL: O47 C31 R12 R11
    Date: 2011–12
  29. By: Kostka, Genia; Moslener, Ulf; Andreas, Jan G.
    Abstract: This paper analyzes barriers for energy efficiency investments for small-and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in China. Based on a survey of 480 SMEs in Zhejiang Province, this study assesses financial, informational, and organizational barriers for energy efficiency investments in the SME sector. The conventional view has been that the lack of appropriate financing mechanisms particularly hinders SMEs to adopt cost-effective energy efficiency measures. As such, closing the financing gap for SMEs is seen as a prerequisite in order to promote energy efficiency in the sector. The econometric estimates of this study, however, suggest that access to information is an important determinant of investment outcomes, while this is less clear with respect to financial and organizational factors. More than 40 percent of enterprises in the sample declared that that they are not aware of energy saving equipments or practices in their respective business area, indicating that there are high transaction costs for SMEs to gather, assess, and apply information about energy saving potentials and relevant technologies. One implication is that the Chinese government may assume an active role in fostering the dissemination of energy-efficiency related information in the SME sector. --
    Keywords: energy efficiency,SMEs,China,energy policies,information access
    Date: 2011
  30. By: Yu, Bingxin; Nin-Pratt, Alejandro; Funes, José; Gemessa, Sinafikeh Asrat
    Abstract: The Ethiopian government has been promoting a package-driven extension that combines credit, fertilizers, improved seeds, and better management practices. This approach has reached almost all farming communities, representing about 2 percent of agricultural gross domestic product in recent years. This paper is the first to look at the extent and determinants of the adoption of the fertilizer-seed technology package promoted in Ethiopia using nationally representative data from the Central Statistical Agency of Ethiopia. We estimate a double hurdle model of fertilizer use for four major cereal crops: barley, maize, teff, and wheat. Since maize is the only crop that exhibits considerable adoption of improved seed, we estimate a similar model for the adoption of improved seed in maize production. We find that access to fertilizer and seed is related to access to extension services and that production specialization together with wealth play a major role in explaining crop area under fertilizer and improved seed. One of the most important factors behind the limited adoption of the technological package is the inefficiency in the use of inputs, which implies that changes are needed in the seed and fertilizer systems and in the priorities of the extension service to promote more efficient use of inputs and to accommodate risks associated with agricultural production, especially among small and poor households.
    Keywords: Agriculture, cereals, double-hurdle model, maize, Technical change, Technology adoption, teff, Wheat,
    Date: 2011

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