nep-eff New Economics Papers
on Efficiency and Productivity
Issue of 2014‒11‒07
eleven papers chosen by

  1. Reducing Productivity and Efficiency Gaps: the Role of Knowledge Assets, Absorptive Capacity and Institutions By Neil Foster-McGregor; Johannes Pöschl; Ana Rincon-Aznar; Robert Stehrer; Michaela Vecchi; Francesco Venturini
  2. The Impact of Regional and Sectoral Productivity Changes on the U.S. Economy By Caliendo, Lorenzo; Parro, Fernando; Rossi-Hansberg, Esteban; Sarte, Pierre-Daniel G.
  3. The effects of biased technological changes on total factor productivity: a rejoinder and new empirical evidence By Cristiano Antonelli; Francesco Quatraro
  5. Co-evolutionary Patterns in Regional Knowledge Bases and Economic Structure: Evidence from European Regions By Francesco Quatraro
  6. Flexible pay systems and labour productivity: Evidence from Emilia-Romagna manufacturing firms By Davide Antonioli; Paolo Pini; Roberto Antonietti
  7. Birthplace diversity and productivity spill-overs in firms By René Böheim; Thomas Horvath; Karin Mayr
  8. Publish or perish: the publication history of the Department of Economics 1963-2013 By Karl Gunnar Persson
  9. Trust and earn more? The Impact of Trust on Corporate Performance By Sandra Rothenberger; Koen Tackx
  10. Real Exchange Rates and Sectoral Productivity in the Eurozone By Martin Berka; Michael B. Devereux; Charles Engel
  11. Variable returns to fertilizer use and its relationship to poverty: Experimental and simulation evidence from Malawi: By Harou, Aurélie; Liu, Yanyan; Barrett, Christopher B.; You, Liangzhi

  1. By: Neil Foster-McGregor (The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw); Johannes Pöschl (The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw); Ana Rincon-Aznar; Robert Stehrer (The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw); Michaela Vecchi; Francesco Venturini
    Abstract: Summary This study analyses the impact of knowledge assets on productivity and technical efficiency in the EU, as well as their role in the process of knowledge transfer. The analysis covers the role of the institutional and regulatory environment in affecting productivity and technical efficiency and how different regulations interact with both the accumulation of knowledge assets and the transfer of technology. Special emphasis is put on the analysis of trends and performance within the EU, across countries and sectors. The trends and performance of the EU at aggregate and sectoral levels are also contrasted with those of other major competitors, such as the United States, Japan or Korea. Further, the effects of the recent crisis on productivity and efficiency at firm level are explored.
    Keywords: competitiveness, industrial organisation, manufacturing, services
    JEL: O11 O12 O43 O57 L60
    Date: 2014–09
  2. By: Caliendo, Lorenzo (Yale University); Parro, Fernando (Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.)); Rossi-Hansberg, Esteban (Princeton University); Sarte, Pierre-Daniel G. (Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond)
    Abstract: We study the impact of regional and sectoral productivity changes on the U.S. economy. To that end, we consider an environment that captures the effects of interregional and intersectoral trade in propagating disaggregated productivity changes at the level of a sector in a given U.S. state to the rest of the economy. The quantitative model we develop features pairwise interregional trade across all 50 U.S. states, 26 traded and non-traded industries, labor as a mobile factor, and structures and land as an immobile factor. We allow for sectoral linkages in the form of an intermediate input structure that matches the U.S. input-output matrix. Using data on trade flows by industry between states, as well as other regional and industry data, we obtain the aggregate, regional and sectoral elasticities of measured TFP, GDP, and employment to regional and sectoral productivity changes. We fi nd that such elasticities can vary signi cantly depending on the sectors and regions affected and are importantly determined by the spatial structure of the US economy. We highlight the role of these elasticities by tracing out the effects of productivity gains in California in the Computers and Electronics industry between 2002 and 2007 on all other U.S. sectors and regions.
    Keywords: Interregional trade; intersectoral linkages; total factor productivity; gross domestic product; factor mobility
    JEL: F10 F11 O40 O47 R12 R13
    Date: 2014–08–06
  3. By: Cristiano Antonelli (Department of Economics, University of Turin - University of Turin); Francesco Quatraro (GREDEG - Groupe de Recherche en Droit, Economie et Gestion - CNRS : UMR7321 - Université Nice Sophia Antipolis (UNS))
    Abstract: The paper by Ji and Wang (J Technol Transf, 2013) calls new attention on the analysis of the effects of the direction of technological change. The aim of this paper is to better articulate and test the theoretical arguments that the direction of technological changes has specific effects on the efficiency of the production process and to study the incentives and the processes that lead to its introduction. The decomposition of total factor productivity growth into the bias and the shift effects enables to articulate the hypothesis that the types of technological change whether more neutral or more biased reflect the variety of the innovation processes at work. The evidence of a large sample of European regions tests the hypothesis that regional innovations systems with a strong science base are better able to introduce neutral technological changes while regional innovation systems that rely more upon learning processes and tacit knowledge favor the introduction of directed technologies a form of meta-substitution that aims at exploiting the opportunities provided by the most intensive use of locally abundant factors.
    Date: 2014–01–06
  4. By: Juana Sanchez
    Abstract: This paper presents a novel empirical study of innovation practices of U.S. companies and their relation to productivity levels using new business micro data from the Business Research and Development and Innovation Survey (BRDIS) for the years 2008-2011. The paper follows the work of Frenz and Lambert, who use factor analysis to reduce a set of inputs and outputs of innovation activities into four latent unobserved innovation modes or practices for OECD countries using Community Innovation Surveys (CIS). Patterns obtained with BRDIS data are very similar to those found by those authors in some OECD countries. Companies are grouped according to their scores across the four factors to see that in large, small and medium companies more than one mode of innovation practices prevails. The next step in the analysis links different types of innovation practices to levels of productivity using regression analysis. The four innovation modes have a statistically signi cant positive relation with the level of productivity, other things constant. The paper demonstrates the possibility of taking into account the multidimensionality of innovation without the use of composite indicators.
    Date: 2014–09
  5. By: Francesco Quatraro (GREDEG - Groupe de Recherche en Droit, Economie et Gestion - CNRS : UMR7321 - Université Nice Sophia Antipolis (UNS))
    Abstract: This paper analyses the co-evolutionary patterns of structural change in knowledge and economics. The former is made operational through an analysis of co-occurrences of technological classes in patent documents in order to derive indicators of coherence, variety and cognitive distance. The latter is made operational in a synthetic way by implementing shift-share analysis which decomposes labour productivity growth into effects caused by changes in the allocation of employment, those ascribed to intra-sector productivity growth, and those caused by interaction of these two components. The results of the analysis conducted on a sample of 227 European regions show that increasing variety is associated with the reallocation of the workforce across sectors whereas within-sector productivity is associated with high levels of both coherence and cognitive distance of the regional knowledge base.
    Keywords: Recombinant knowledge, Coherence, Variety, Regional structural change, Shift-share analysis,
    Date: 2014–07–15
  6. By: Davide Antonioli; Paolo Pini; Roberto Antonietti
    Abstract: The aim of this paper is to analyse the link between flexible pay systems (FPS) and labour productivity, with a close look at wage premium determinants as elements disclosing specific managerial strategies. The analysis was conducted on a sample of more than 500 manufacturing firms located in the Emilia-Romagna region, Italy. Results show that the adoption of flexible pay schemes is linked to union involvement and organizational changes within the firm, supporting the idea that flexible wages do not constitute merely an economic premium, but a more complex strategy aimed at increasing employees’ flexibility and autonomy. Notwithstanding the positive effects on productivity, the relation with economic performance does not emerge as extremely innovative. On the one hand, it is driven by a traditional form of premiums (PRP) targeted to individual employees and linked to a simple “effort improvement and control†motivation and “ability to pay†of the firm. On the other, it is driven by premiums (PFP) provided ex-ante and aimed at developing employees’ participation and competencies
    Keywords: performance related pay; pay for participation; organizational innovation; industrial relations; labour productivity
    JEL: J24 J33 J51
    Date: 2014–10–08
  7. By: René Böheim; Thomas Horvath; Karin Mayr
    Abstract: We determine workforce composition and wages in firms in the presence of productivity spill-overs between co-workers. In equilibrium, workers' wages depend on the production struc- ture of firms, own group size, and aggregate workforce composition in the firm. We estimate the wage effects of workforce diversity and own group size by birthplace and the implied pro- duction structure in Austrian firms using a comprehensive matched employer-employee data set. In our data, we identify a positive effect of workforce diversity and a negative effect of own group size on wages, which suggest that workers of different birthplaces are complements in production on average.
    Keywords: workforce composition, productivity spill-overs, worker group size
    JEL: D21 D22 F22 J31
    Date: 2014–08
  8. By: Karl Gunnar Persson (Department of Economics, Copenhagen University)
    Abstract: This paper addresses two issues. It documents the changes in the publication strategy of the members of the Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen over the last 50 years, away from a broad domestic audience to the international community of peers and scholars. From having been only occasionally present in the world of science the Department has increased its impact from the end of the 1980s.Exploiting data on the impact of journal articles the paper makes a tentative estimate of a spectacular increase in research labour productivity.
    JEL: A B
    Date: 2014–05–15
  9. By: Sandra Rothenberger; Koen Tackx
    Abstract: In this article we investigate the impact of personal and organizational trust on the financial performance of companies over a period of time. The effect of trust on various economic and managerial transactions is being researched extensively over the last two decades but previous research did not led to empirical proof that the overall trust level of a company actually increases the financial profitability of firms over a longer period of time. Drawing on a sample of 291 German industrial firms over a period of six years we observe that both personal and organizational trust have a positive influence on the return on assets of a firm. Furthermore we proof that trust is driving profitability in certain conditions and environments differently. By analysing the relationship and characteristics between trust and profitability, this study brings a concrete illustration of what was implicitly known by many scholars and has important implications for future research and management practice.
    Keywords: Trust; Knowledge Intensity; Performance; Return on Assets (ROA); Structural Equation Modeling (SEM); Environmental Uncertainty
    JEL: D02 D80 M20
    Date: 2014–10–15
  10. By: Martin Berka; Michael B. Devereux; Charles Engel
    Abstract: We investigate the link between real exchange rates and sectoral total factor productivity measures for countries in the Eurozone. Real exchange rate patterns closely accord with an amended Balassa-Samuelson interpretation, both in cross-section and time series. We construct a sticky price dynamic general equilibrium model to generate a crosssection and time series of real exchange rates that can be directly compared to the data. Under the assumption of a common currency, estimates from simulated regressions are very similar to the empirical estimates for the Eurozone. Our findings contrast with previous studies that have found little relationship between productivity levels and the real exchange rate among high-income countries, but those studies have included country pairs which have a floating nominal exchange rate.
    Keywords: Balassa-Samuelson, Real Exchange Rates, Eurozone, Total Factor Productivity, Unit Labor Cost
    JEL: F41 F31
    Date: 2014–10
  11. By: Harou, Aurélie; Liu, Yanyan; Barrett, Christopher B.; You, Liangzhi
    Abstract: Despite the rise of targeted input subsidy programs in Africa over the last decade, several questions remain as to whether low and variable soil fertility, frequent drought, and high fertilizer prices render fertilizer unprofitable for large subpopulations of African farmers. To examine these questions, we use large-scale, panel experimental data from maize field trials throughout Malawi to estimate the expected physical returns to fertilizer use conditional on a range of agronomic factors and weather conditions. Using these estimated returns and historical price and weather data, we simulate the expected profitability of fertilizer application over space and time. We find that the fertilizer bundles distributed under Malawi’s subsidy program are almost always profitable in expectation, although our results may be reasonably interpreted as upper-bound estimates among more skilled farmers given that the experimental subjects were not randomly selected.
    Keywords: Fertilizers, subsidies, Agricultural development, productivity, farm inputs, poverty alleviation,
    Date: 2014

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