New Economics Papers
on Efficiency and Productivity
Issue of 2013‒03‒23
thirteen papers chosen by

  1. Assessment of efficiency in basic and secondary education in Tunisia, a regional analysis By António Afonso,; Mohamed Ayadi,; Sourour Ramzi,
  2. Cost Inefficiency of Municipalities after Amalgamation By Katsuyoshi Nakazawa
  3. Basic Innovation and Firm Performance By Burak Dindaroglu
  4. Resources, Policies, and Agricultural Productivity in Sub-Saharan Africa By Fuglie, Keith O.; Rada, Nicholas E.
  5. Estimation of Productivity in Korean Electric Power Plants: A Semiparametric Smooth Coefficient Model By Heshmati, Almas; Kumbhakar, Subal C.; Sun, Kai
  6. Is the eco-efficiency in greenhouse gas emissions converging among European Union countries? By Mariam Camarero; Juana Castillo Giménez; Andrés J. Picazo-Tadeo; Cecilio Tamarit
  7. ‘The Curse of the Caribbean’? Agency’s impact on the efficiency of sugar estates in St.Vincent and the Grenadines, 1814-1829 By Simon D. Smith; Martin Forster
  8. Directing Technical Change from Fossil-Fuel to Renewable Energy Innovation: An Empirical Application Using Firm-Level Patent Data By Joëlle Noailly; Roger Smeets
  9. International Knowledge Spillovers through High-Tech Imports and R&D of Foreign-Owned Firms By Heike Belitz; Florian Mölders
  10. Weather and Welfare: Health and Agricultural Impacts of Climate Extremes, Evidence from Mexico By Roberto Guerrero Compean
  11. Product and Labor Market Imperfections and Scale Economies: Micro-Evidence on France, Japan and the Netherlands By Dobbelaere, Sabien; Kiyota, Kozo; Mairesse, Jacques
  12. The Market for Corporate Subsidiaries in Japan: An empirical study of trades among listed firms By USHIJIMA Tatsuo; Ulrike SCHAEDE
  13. Do Firms Face a Trade-Off between the Quantity and the Quality of Their Inventions? By Gaétan de Rassenfosse

  1. By: António Afonso,; Mohamed Ayadi,; Sourour Ramzi,
    Abstract: We evaluate the efficiency of basic and secondary education in 24 governorates of Tunisia during the period 1999-2008 using a non-parametric approach, DEA (Data Envelopment Analysis). We use four inputs: number of teacher per 100 students, number of classes per 100 students, number of schools per million inhabitants and education spending per student, while the output measures include the success rate of baccalaureate exam and the rate of nondoubling in the 9th year. Our results show that there is a positive relationship between school resources and student achievement and performance. Moreover, there was an increase in output efficiency scores in most governorates through the period from 1999 to 2008.
    Keywords: basic and secondary education, efficiency, DEA, Tunisia
    JEL: C14 H52 I21
    Date: 2013–02
  2. By: Katsuyoshi Nakazawa (University of Toyo)
    Abstract: This paper focuses on the increase in slack costs due to municipality amalgamation, which is pushed forward in several countries to achieve economies of scale. Employing the stochastic frontier cost function to estimate the inefficiency of local public expenditure due to slack, this study investigated 479 Japanese municipalities that had amalgamated from 2000 to 2005. This work used the technical inefficiency variable “Number of municipalities that participated in an amalgamation” and a dummy variable for “The newly-established-municipality form of amalgamation.” Results show that these variables have an impact on the cost inefficiency of local public expenditure. Average efficiency scores in the two estimations carried out were 1.145 and 1.100. The estimation results showed that municipality amalgamation produces integration costs (slack) in an administrative organization. The degree of slack depends on the form of amalgamation.
    Keywords: Municipality amalgamation; Cost inefficiency; Slack cost; Stacastic frontier analysis; Japan
    JEL: E62 H20 K34 N00
    Date: 2013
  3. By: Burak Dindaroglu (Department of Economics, Izmir University of Economics)
    Abstract: I study the effects of basic and applied innovation on a firm's market value and total factor productivity for a panel of U.S. manufacturing firms. Basicness of innovation is measured by the index of generality proposed by Trajtenberg, Henderson and Jaffe (1997), and basic and applied innovation stocks are proxied by the stocks of patents that score at the relevant tails of the generality distribution. I find that the market valuation and productivity effects of basic and applied innovation are drastically different. Market value is positively associated with a firm's applied innovation stock, but it exhibits no association with its basic innovation stock. On the other hand, patents at the higher (resp. lower) quartiles of the generality distribution are positively (resp. negatively) associated with total factor productivity and productivity growth. Therefore, complementing previous studies on basic research, I find that the basicness of innovation is associated with a productivity premium.
    Keywords: Basic innovation; Applied innovation; Patents; Citations; Generality; Market value; Tobin's q; Productivity.
    JEL: O31 O33 L60
    Date: 2013–03
  4. By: Fuglie, Keith O.; Rada, Nicholas E.
    Abstract: Agricultural productivity in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) remains low and is falling farther behind other regions of the world. Although agricultural output growth in the region has accelerated since the 1990s, this has been primarily due to resource expansion rather than to higher productivity. Yet there is evidence that agricultural productivity growth has improved in some countries. Enhanced productivity is correlated with investments in agricultural research, wider adoption of new technologies, and policy reforms that have strengthened economic incentives to farmers. Many of the technological improvements have come from the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) centers. Benefits from the CGIAR in SSA are estimated to be over $6 for each $1 invested. Returns to national agricultural research are also robust, at least for large countries. But overall investment in agricultural research has remained low, and increases in research capacity will likely be necessary to significantly accelerate agricultural growth in the region. Other constraints to agricultural productivity include government policies that reduce earnings in the farm sector, the spread of the HIV/AIDS virus, and armed conflict within and between countries.
    Keywords: national agricultural research systems, technology adoption, returns to research, structural adjustment, total factor productivity (TFP), CGIAR, international agricultural research., International Development,
    Date: 2013–02
  5. By: Heshmati, Almas (Sogang University); Kumbhakar, Subal C. (Binghamton University, New York); Sun, Kai (Aston University)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the impact of load factor, facility and generator types on the productivity of Korean electric power plants. In order to capture important differences in the effect of load policy on power output, we use a semiparametric smooth coefficient (SPSC) model that allows us to model heterogeneous performances across power plants and over time by allowing underlying technologies to be heterogeneous. The SPSC model accommodates both continuous and discrete covariates. Various specification tests are conducted to compare performance of the SPSC model. Using a unique generator level panel dataset spanning the period 1995-2006, we find that the impact of load factor, generator and facility types on power generation varies substantially in terms of magnitude and significance across different plant characteristics. The results have strong implication for generation policy in Korea as outlined in this study.
    Keywords: semiparametric estimation, smooth varying-coefficient model, electricity generation, generator level panel data
    JEL: C14 C23 C51 D24 L25 L94
    Date: 2013–03
  6. By: Mariam Camarero (Universidad Jaume I); Juana Castillo Giménez (Universidad de Valencia); Andrés J. Picazo-Tadeo (Universidad de Valencia); Cecilio Tamarit (Universidad de Valencia)
    Abstract: Eco-efficiency refers to the ability to produce more goods and services with less impact on the environment and less consumption of natural resources. This issue has become a matter of concern that is receiving increasing attention by politicians, scientists and academics. Furthermore, greenhouse gases emitted as a result of production processes have a heavy impact in the environment and also are the foremost responsible of global warming and climate change. This paper assesses convergence in eco-efficiency from greenhouse gas emissions in the European Union (EU). Eco-efficiency is assessed at both country and greenhouse-gas-specific levels using Data Envelopment Analysis techniques and directional distance functions, as recently proposed by Picazo-Tadeo et al. (2012). Then, convergence is evaluated using the Phillips and Sul (2007) approach that allows testing for the existence of convergence groups. Although the results point to the existence of different convergence clubs depending on the specific pollutant considered, they signal the existence of, at least, four clear groups of countries. The first two groups are conformed of core EU high-income countries (Benelux, Germany, Italy, Austria, the United Kingdom and Scandinavian countries). A third club is made up of peripheral countries (Spain, Ireland, Portugal, Greece) together with some Eastern countries (Latvia, Slovenia) and the rest of clubs consists of groups containing Eastern European countries.
    Keywords: Eco-efficiency; convergence; clubs; greenhouse gases emissions; European Union; directional distance functions; Data Envelopment Analysis
    JEL: C15 C22 C61 F15 Q56
    Date: 2013–03
  7. By: Simon D. Smith (University of Oxford, University of York); Martin Forster (University of Oxford, University of York)
    Abstract: This study estimates agency’s impact on the efficiency of sugar plantations on St.Vincent and the Grenadines during the early 19th century. Using a panel data set covering the years 1814-1829, a series of stochastic frontier models are estimated to investigate whether estates employing agents were more technically efficient than those managed by the owners themselves. Multiple imputation methods are used to deal with missing data problems. There is no evidence in any of the models estimated to suggest that estates under agency were less efficient than those that were directed by their owners. Estimates from a number of models suggest that agent-operated estates were more efficient.
    Date: 2013–03–20
  8. By: Joëlle Noailly; Roger Smeets
    Abstract: This paper investigates the determinants of directed technical change in the electricity generation sector. We use firm-level data on patents filed in renewable (REN) and fossil fuel (FF) technologies by about 7,000 European firms over the period 1978-2006. We separately study specialized firms, that innovate in only one type of technology during the sample period, and mixed firms, that innovate in both technologies. We find that for specialized firms the main drivers of innovation are fossil-fuel prices, market size, and firms' past knowledge stocks. Also, prices and market size drive the entry of new REN firms into innovation. By contrast, we find that innovation by mixed firms is mainly driven by strong path-dependencies since for these firms past knowledge stock is the major driver of the direction of innovation. These results imply that generic environmental policies that affect prices and energy demand are mainly effective in directing innovation by small specialized firms. In order to direct innovation efforts of large mixed corporations with a long history of FF innovation, targeted R&D policies are likely to be more effective.
    JEL: Q4 Q55
    Date: 2013–03
  9. By: Heike Belitz; Florian Mölders
    Abstract: The international transmission of knowledge through import spillovers, as a source of TFP growth, has received much attention in the literature. We investigate two additional direct channels through which R&D disseminates: the import of high-technology goods and the internationalization of business R&D. Building on an extensive dataset, covering both developing and industrial countries, we add foreign owned patents as a proxy for R&D activities of multinationals. While we confirm the significance of import spillovers for all countries included, we find additional spillovers for developing countries through the import of high-technology goods. Only developed economies seem to benefit from the diffusion of knowledge that originates through cross-border cooperation in R&D by multinationals.
    Keywords: Productivity growth, technology diffusion, multinational enterprise
    JEL: F14 F23 O47
    Date: 2013
  10. By: Roberto Guerrero Compean
    Abstract: Using data for all 2,454 municipalities of Mexico for the period 1980-2010, this paper analyzes the relationship between exposure to extreme temperatures and precipitation and death, as well as the relationship between severe weather and agricultural income and crop production in the country. It is found that extreme heat increases mortality, while the health effect of extreme cold is generally trivial. Precipitation extremes seem to affect the agricultural system, but their impact on mortality is ambiguous. More specifically, exchanging one day with a temperature of 16-18C for one day with temperatures higher than 30C increases the crude mortality rate by 0. 15 percentage points, a result robust to several model specifications. It is also found that the extreme heat effect on death is significantly more acute in rural regions, leading to increases of up to 0. 2 percentage points vis-‡-vis a 0. 07-point increase in urban areas. The timing of climate extremes is relevant: if a weather shock takes place during the agricultural growing season, the effects on mortality and agricultural output, productivity, prices, and crop yields are large and significant, but not so if such shocks occur during the non-growing season.
    JEL: I12 Q12 Q51 Q54
    Date: 2013–03
  11. By: Dobbelaere, Sabien (VU University Amsterdam); Kiyota, Kozo (Yokohama National University); Mairesse, Jacques (CREST-INSEE)
    Abstract: Allowing for three labor market settings (perfect competition or right-to-manage bargaining, efficient bargaining and monopsony), this paper relies on an extension of Hall's econometric framework for estimating simultaneously price-cost margins and scale economies. Using an unbalanced panel of 17,653 firms over the period 1986-2001 in France, 8,725 firms over the period 1994-2006 in Japan and 7,828 firms over the period 1993-2008 in the Netherlands, we first apply two procedures to classify 30 comparable manufacturing industries in 6 distinct regimes that differ in terms of the type of competition prevailing in product and labor markets. For each of the three predominant regimes in each country, we then investigate industry differences in the estimated product and labor market imperfections and scale economies. We find important regime differences across the three countries and also observe differences in the levels of product and labor market imperfections and scale economies within regimes.
    Keywords: rent sharing, monopsony, price-cost mark-ups, production function, panel data
    JEL: C23 D21 J50 L13
    Date: 2013–02
  12. By: USHIJIMA Tatsuo; Ulrike SCHAEDE
    Abstract: We investigate the economic role of trades in corporate subsidiaries in Japan between 1996 and 2010, in terms of valuation and performance effects. By pairing both sides to each deal, we show differences in firm characteristics, returns, and subsequent performance of buying and selling firms. Unlike mergers among whole firms, most subsidiary deals straddled different industries. Most sellers were larger, more diversified and less profitable than the buyers. Our event study reveals that abnormal returns were positive for buyers yet insignificantly different from zero for sellers, with the notable exception of subsidiary sales in the core business, which earned negative returns, the more so the larger the deal. An analysis of ex-post operating results shows that the performance of sellers often declined after the trade, in particular for firms that divested a core-related subsidiary. We conclude that subsidiary trades in Japan in this period contributed importantly to strategic repositioning and a more efficient use of corporate assets.
    Date: 2013–03
  13. By: Gaétan de Rassenfosse (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne; Intellectual Property Research Institute of Australia, The University of Melbourne)
    Abstract: This paper presents evidence that firms face a trade-off between the quantity and quality of their research output. The econometric analysis uses survey data on patent applicants at the European Patent Office and addresses the identification problem caused by differences in firms’ propensity to patent. The existence of a trade-off emphasizes the need to take the quality of research output into account when assessing research productivity. It also raises questions about the optimal quantity–quality mix that firms should target.
    Keywords: Innovation performance, invention quality, invention quantity, patent explosion, propensity to patent, research productivity
    JEL: D83 L25 O31 O33
    Date: 2013–02

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