nep-eff New Economics Papers
on Efficiency and Productivity
Issue of 2017‒07‒02
25 papers chosen by
Angelo Zago
Università degli Studi di Verona

  1. Measuring and explaining productivity growth of renewable energy producers: An empirical study of Austrian biogas plants. By Andreas, Eder; Bernhard, Mahlberg; Bernhard, Stürmer
  2. Agricultural Production and Technical Change Around the World, 1961-2010 By Malacarne, Janet Horsager; Artz, Georgeanne M.; Orazem, Peter
  3. The Walking Dead?: Zombie Firms and Productivity Performance in OECD Countries By Muge Adalet McGowan; Dan Andrews; Valentine Millot
  4. Decomposition of the Technical Efficiency: Pure Technical and Scale Efficiency of the Financial System By Sanderson Abel; Alex Bara
  6. On the relationship between bank market concentration and stability of financial institutions: Evidence from the Italian banking sector By Barra, Cristian; Zotti, Roberto
  7. Insolvency regimes, zombie firms and capital reallocation By Muge Adalet McGowan; Dan Andrews; Valentine Millot
  8. Impacts of Climate Change and Extreme Weather on U.S. Agricultural Productivity: Evidence and Projection By Sun Ling Wang; Eldon Ball; Richard Nehring; Ryan Williams; Truong Chau
  9. Biodiversity Productive Capacity in Mixed Farms of North-West of France: a Multi-output Primal System By François Bareille; Pierre Dupraz
  10. Portugal: a Paradox in Productivity By Ricardo Pinheiro Alves
  11. Explaining the efficiency of Italian car suppliers during the crisis By Alessandro Manello; Giuseppe Calabrese; Piercarlo Frigero
  12. Bank Stability and Competition: Evidence from Albanian Banking Market By Shijaku, Gerti
  13. Factor-specific technology choice By Jakub Growiec
  14. Working Hours and Productivity By Collewet, Marion; Sauermann, Jan
  15. Labour productivity and social network metrics in scientific research By Greta Falavigna; Alessandro Manello
  16. The role of land certification in reducing gaps in productivity between male- and female-owned farms in rural Ethiopia By Mintewab Bezabih; Stein Holden; Andrea Mannberg
  17. Does Assigning More Women to Managerial Positions Enhance Firm Productivity? Evidence from Sweden By Sato, Yoshihiro; Ando, Michihito
  18. Does grade configuration matter for school performance? Short- and long-run effects of school reorganisation By Holmlund, Helena; Böhlmark, Anders
  19. The Aggregate Productivity Effects of Internal Migration: Evidence from Indonesia By Gharad Bryan; Melanie Morten
  20. Payroll Taxes and Firm Performance By Egebark, Johan; Kaunitz, Niklas
  21. The Determinants of Growth in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Industry: A Firm-Level Analysis By Giorgio Canarella; Stephen M. Miller
  22. What a difference a good school makes! Persistence in academic performance and the impact of school quality By Marisa von Fintel; Servaas van der Berg
  23. Justice System Efficiency and Regional Economic Performance in Mexico By Chávez Juan Carlos; Fonseca Felipe J.; Gómez Zaldívar Manuel de Jesús
  24. The Disappointing Recovery of Output after 2009 By John G. Fernald; Robert E. Hall; James H. Stock; Mark W. Watson
  25. The Effects of Policies Concerning Teachers’ Wages on Students’ Performance By Julia Varga

  1. By: Andreas, Eder; Bernhard, Mahlberg; Bernhard, Stürmer
    Abstract: This study explores productivity growth for a group of 65 Austrian biogas plants from 2006 to 2014 using Data Envelopment Analysis. The sample covers about 25 % of the installed electric capacity of Austrian biogas plants. Productivity growth is measured by calculating the Malmquist productivity index, and the contributions of technical change, efficiency change and scale change to productivity growth are isolated. Average annual productivity growth between 2006 and 2014 is 1.1 %. The decomposition of the Malmquist index shows that the annual scale change, technical change, and efficiency change for the average plant is 0.6 %, 0.3 % and 0.3 %, respectively. Those results indicate that the exploitation of returns to scale is a major driver of productivity growth in the Austrian biogas sector. However, there is a large variation in productivity growth across biogas plants. A second-stage regression analysis identifies important determinants of productivity growth. The results show that i) the exploitation of returns to scale as well as changes in ii) output diversification iii) capital intensity, iv) capacity utilization and v) feedstock prices are positively associated with productivity growth.
    Keywords: Data Envelopment Analysis, Malmquist Productivity Index, Renewable Energy Sources, Biogas Energy, Cogeneration
    JEL: C61 D24 Q16 Q42
    Date: 2017–06
  2. By: Malacarne, Janet Horsager; Artz, Georgeanne M.; Orazem, Peter
    Abstract: This paper extends the induced innovation research of Hayami and Ruttan by including 129 more countries, extending the time frame to 50 years and explaining the production process for those countries using a Cobb-Douglas function. From this data, the paper illustrates trade-offs between five inputs in agricultural production in empirical isoquants, and measures the progress of agricultural productivity by the magnitude of the shift in isoquants toward the origin. We can further test the implications of technical change on the productivity of the inputs: labor, land, fertilizer, and capital. We illustrate the response of input demands to rising agricultural wages and estimate scale and substitution effects using the fundamental law of derived demand. Lastly, we explore possible explanations for variation in agricultural productivity increases across countries by examining the relationship between countries’ trade protection policies and democracy level and unit labor costs.
    Date: 2017–05–20
  3. By: Muge Adalet McGowan; Dan Andrews; Valentine Millot
    Abstract: This paper explores the extent to which “zombie” firms – defined as old firms that have persistent problems meeting their interest payments – are stifling labour productivity performance. The results show that the prevalence of and resources sunk in zombie firms have risen since the mid-2000s and that the increasing survival of these low productivity firms at the margins of exit congests markets and constrains the growth of more productive firms. Controlling for cyclical effects, cross-country analysis shows that within-industries over the period 2003-2013, a higher share of industry capital sunk in zombie firms is associated with lower investment and employment growth of the typical non-zombie firm and less productivity-enhancing capital reallocation. Besides limiting the expansion possibilities of healthy incumbent firms, market congestion generated by zombie firms can also create barriers to entry and constrain the post-entry growth of young firms. Finally, we link the rise of zombie firms to the decline in OECD potential output growth through two key channels: business investment and multi-factor productivity growth Les Morts-Vivants ? : Entreprises Zombies et Productivité dans les Pays de l’OCDE Ce document examine dans quelle mesure les entreprises “zombies” – définies comme les entreprises de plus de dix ans rencontrant des problèmes persistants dans le remboursement de leurs intérêts – nuisent aux performances de la productivité du travail. Les résultats montrent que la prévalence des entreprises zombies et les ressources qui y sont renfermées ont augmenté depuis le milieu des années 2000 et que l’augmentation de la survie de ces entreprises à faible productivité, au bord de la sortie, accroît la congestion du marché et limite la croissance des entreprises plus productives. Une analyse portant sur différents pays sur la période 2003-2013 et contrôlant pour les effets conjoncturels montre qu’au sein d’un secteur, une part plus importante de capital renfermé dans les entreprises zombies est associée à un moindre investissement et une plus faible croissance de l’emploi pour l’entreprise non-zombie typique, et à une réaffectation du capital moins favorable à la productivité. Outre le fait qu’elle limite les possibilités de croissance des entreprises saines en place, la congestion du marché générée par les entreprises zombies peut également créer des barrières à l’entrée et limiter la croissance après l’entrée des jeunes entreprises. Enfin, nous relions l’augmentation des entreprises zombies au ralentissement de la croissance potentielle de l’OCDE à travers deux mécanismes principaux : l’investissement des entreprises et la croissance de la productivité multifactorielle.
    Keywords: firm exit, investment, misallocation, productivity, zombie lending
    JEL: D24 E22 G32 O16 O40 O47
    Date: 2017–01–25
  4. By: Sanderson Abel; Alex Bara
    Abstract: The study investigated the technical efficiency of the commercial banks in Zimbabwe during the period 2009-2015. The study entailed the decomposition of the technical efficiency into pure technical and scale efficiency to understand the sources of the technical inefficiency of the commercial banks in Zimbabwe. To accomplish the task the study sampled eleven commercial banks of which six are domestic and the other five foreign banks. The study used the data envelopment analysis method. The results of the study revealed that commercial banks in Zimbabwe are technically inefficient with an efficient score of 82.9 percent. The average pure technical and scale efficiency scores were 96.6 percent and 85.6 percent respectively. The results imply that technical inefficiency of the Zimbabwean commercial banks is mainly a result of scale inefficiency emanating from decreasing returns to scale. The deduction is that commercial banks in Zimbabwe are operating at below their optimum capacity hence have scope to increase their operations in order to improve on technical efficiency.
    Keywords: technical efficiency, Scale efficiency, Pure technical efficiency, data envelopment analysis
    JEL: C61 G21
    Date: 2017–06
  5. By: Francesco Aiello; Graziella Bonanno; Luigi Capristo (Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza "Giovanni Anania" - DESF, Università della Calabria)
    Abstract: One learns two main lessons from the efficiency literature on local governments. The first lesson regards the heterogeneity in the efficiency scores reported in primary papers. The second lesson is that there is no quantitative evidence on the role played by the features of each paper (i.e. estimation method, sample size, dimension, returns to scale) in explaining the differences in results. In order to fill this gap, we review the related empirical literature and perform a Meta Regression Analysis (MRA) by examining 360 efficiency scores retrieved from 54 papers published from 1993 to 2016. The meta-regression is based on a random effect model estimated with the Random Effects Maximum Likelihood (REML) technique, because it controls for within- and between-study heterogeneity. We also run a fixed effect unrestricted Weighted Least Squares (WLS) regression. Due to its main research focus, that is measuring the impact of potential sources of heterogeneity on local government efficiency, the paper contributes to the debate in two ways. One of this concerns the role of methodological choices made by researchers when performing an efficiency study. The second regards the role of deregulation in local government, which is a policy-issue in a number of countries. Results show that efficiency scores are highly heterogeneous. To be precise, significant differences in means are found when grouping efficiency by different criteria. The meta-regression estimates indicate that studies focusing on technical efficiency provide higher efficiency scores than works evaluating cost efficiency. Using panel data in primary studies allows researchers to obtain higher efficiency of local government than papers using cross-section data. Interestingly, FDH studies yield, on average, higher efficiency scores than DEA papers, thereby suggesting that in this literature the convexity hypothesis of the production set is a matter. Furthermore, we find that primary papers evaluating the efficiency of European municipalities provide lower efficiency scores than studies focusing on other countries (USA, Africa, Asia and Latina America). We also provide evidence that the estimated efficiency scores in primary papers focusing on the municipalities of a region are, one average, lower than those retrieved from studies addressing the efficiency of the national system of local government.
    Keywords: Efficiency, Municipalities, Frontier Models, Meta-analysis, Convexity
    JEL: C13 C14 C80 D24 H11 H40 H50
    Date: 2017–06
  6. By: Barra, Cristian; Zotti, Roberto
    Abstract: This paper explores the relationship between bank market concentration and financial stability of financial institutions relying on highly territorially disaggregated data taken at municipality level in Italy between 2001 and 2012. Firstly, we test the existence of a U-shaped relationship between market concentration and financial stability. Secondly, we estimate the impact of the level of concentration of the banking system and other explanatory variables, such as size, level of capitalization and credit insolvency of financial institutions, on a proxy of risk taking behavior such as the banking ‘‘stability inefficiency’’ derived simultaneously from the estimation of a stability stochastic frontier. The paper concludes that the inefficiency of financial stability is U-shaped relationship with respect to the measure of market concentration. Boosting market power increases bank failure in very concentrated markets while leads to higher financial stability in already competitive markets. Bank size is an essential factor in explaining this relationship as the effect of size on the inefficiency of stability is an inverse U-shaped as a function of the market share indicator; results also suggest that high, low and average concentration levels do not change the positive effects that the level of capitalization has on the stability inefficiency.
    Keywords: Management; local banks; market structure; financial stability
    JEL: C14 D21 G21 G28
    Date: 2017–06
  7. By: Muge Adalet McGowan (OECD); Dan Andrews (OECD); Valentine Millot (OECD)
    Abstract: This paper explores cross-country differences in the design of insolvency regimes and their potential links with two inter-related sources of labour productivity weakness: the survival of “zombie” firms (firms that would typically exit in a competitive market) and capital misallocation. New cross-country policy indicators of insolvency regimes are constructed based on countries’ responses to a recent OECD questionnaire, which aimed to better capture the key design features of insolvency which impact the timely initiation and resolution of insolvency proceedings. According to these metrics, cross-country differences in the design of insolvency regimes are significant. Firm level analysis shows that reforms to insolvency regimes which reduce barriers to corporate restructuring and the personal cost associated with entrepreneurial failure may reduce the share of capital sunk in zombie firms. These gains are partly realised via the restructuring of weak firms, which in turn spurs the reallocation of capital to more productive firms. These findings carry strong policy implications, in light of the fact that there is much scope to reform insolvency regimes in many OECD countries and given evidence that rising capital misallocation and the increasing survival of low productivity firms have contributed to the productivity slowdown.
    Keywords: capital misallocation, firm exit, personal and corporate insolvency, productivity, zombie firms
    JEL: D24 K35 O40 O43 O47
    Date: 2017–06–30
  8. By: Sun Ling Wang; Eldon Ball; Richard Nehring; Ryan Williams; Truong Chau
    Abstract: This paper employs a stochastic frontier approach to examine how climate change and extreme weather affect U.S. agricultural productivity using 1940-1970 historical weather data (mean and variation) as the norm. We have four major findings. First, using temperature humidity index (THI) load and Oury index for the period 1960-2010 we find each state has experienced different patterns of climate change in the past half century, with some states incurring drier and warmer conditions than others. Second, the higher the THI load (more heat waves) and the lower the Oury index (much drier) will tend to lower a state’s productivity. Third, the impacts of THI load shock and Oury index shock variables (deviations from historical norm fluctuations) on productivity are more robust than the level of THI and Oury index variables across specifications. Fourth, we project potential impacts of climate change and extreme weather on U.S. regional productivity based on the estimates. We find that the same degree changes in temperature or precipitation will have uneven impacts on regional productivities, with Delta, Northeast, and Southeast regions incurring much greater effects than other regions, using 2000-2010 as the reference period.
    JEL: O13 O4 Q1 Q16 Q54 Q56
    Date: 2017–06
  9. By: François Bareille; Pierre Dupraz
    Abstract: Previous studies on the productive value of biodiversity emphasized that crop diversity increases crop yields. Here, we focus on the productivity of crop diversity and permanent grasslands for crops and milk. Using a GMM approach, we estimate detailed production functions using a sample of 3960 mixed farms from the FADN between 2002 and 2013. We highlight that permanent grasslands enhance crop production. We confirm that crop diversity increases crop and milk yields. Permanent grasslands and crop diversity are however substitute inputs. We also find that both of these biodiversity productive capacities influence variable input productivities. These results suggest the potential adaptations of farmers’ choices to environmental measures.
    Keywords: ecosystem services, agriculture, permanent grassland, crop diversity
    JEL: Q12 Q57 D22
    Date: 2017
  10. By: Ricardo Pinheiro Alves (Gabinete Estratégia e Estudos Ministério Economia / Office for Strategy and Studies - Ministério da Economia / Ministry of Economy)
    Abstract: Portugal is experiencing a larger slowdown of productivity growth than the one occurring in advanced economies. This paper aims to help understanding why convergence in productivity levels is not happening by considering its main determinants. It presents a set of different reasons for this slowdown and divergence with developed economies since the mid-1990s that are associated with an increasing misallocation of capital, labour and skills both at a sectorial and firm level.
    Keywords: Portugal, Productivity, Convergence
    JEL: H80 O40
    Date: 2017–06
  11. By: Alessandro Manello (Ceris - Institute for Economic Research on Firms and Growth,Turin, Italy); Giuseppe Calabrese (Ceris - Institute for Economic Research on Firms and Growth,Turin, Italy); Piercarlo Frigero (UNITO- University of Turin, Faulty of Economics, Turin, Italy)
    Abstract: This empirical study, focused on the Italian automotive sector during the recent international crisis, detects technical performance of firms using Data Envelopment Analysis. We pay specific attention to the role along the supply chain, to size and to vertical structure of firms. In particular, this study highlights how the recent crisis stimulates a deep process of re-organization, relocation and re-thinking of firms’ position along the value chain but, in particular, the crisis stresses the pre-existing heterogeneity among firms. The technical frontier is driven by firms able to contribute to the technology, which represents essential link of the automotive value chain. Those firms are large, vertically disintegrated and operate in metals, plastic or machinery.
    Keywords: Supply chain, Vertical integration, Data Envelopment Analysis, automotive sector. JEL Codes: L22, L25, L62, O14Creation-Date: 2014-05
  12. By: Shijaku, Gerti
    Abstract: This paper analyses the inter-temporal competition – stability nexus after the global financial crises. For this reason, the empirical estimation approach follows a five – step procedure. First, we utilise quarterly macroeconomic and balance sheet and income statement data for 16 banks operating in the Albanian banking sector over the period 2008 – 2015. Second, we calculate a new composite index as a measure of bank stability conditions, which includes a wide set of information rather than focusing only on one aspect of risk. Then, we construct a proxy for bank competition such as the Boone indicator. Empirical estimations are based on the General Method of Moments approach. A set of robustness checks include also the use of other alternative proxy of competition such as the Lerner index and the efficient-adjusted Lerner index, profit elasticity and the Herfindahl index. Empirical results strongly support the “competition – stability” view after the global financial crises - that higher degree of competition boosts further bank stability conditions. Results further indicate that greater concentration has also a negative impact on bank stability. Results imply also that bank stability is positively linked with macroeconomic conditions and capital ratio and inverse with operational efficiency. Finally, we do not find a non-linear relationship between competition and stability.
    Keywords: Bank stability, Competition, Boone indicator, Panel Data, GMM.
    JEL: C26 E32 E43 G21
    Date: 2017–06
  13. By: Jakub Growiec (Narodowy Bank Polski and SGH Warsaw School of Economics)
    Abstract: We analyze the properties of a two-dimensional problem of factor-specific technology choice subject to a technology menu – understood as the choice of the degree of factor augmentation by a producing firm or the choice of quality of goods demanded by a consumer. By considering the problem in its generality, we are able to reach beyond the known results for Cobb–Douglas, CES, Leontief (minimum) and maximum functions. We demonstrate that the technology menu and the global function (envelope of local functions) are dual objects, in a well-defined generalized sense of duality. In the optimum, partial elasticities of (i) the local function, (ii) the technology menu and (iii) the global function are all equal and there exists a clear-cut, economically interpretable relationship between their curvatures. Invoking Bergson’s theorem, we also comment on the consequences of assuming homotheticity of the three objects, with a particular focus on technology menus constructed as level curves of idea (unit factor productivity) distributions.
    Keywords: technology choice, technology menu, production function, utility function, duality, envelope, homotheticity.
    JEL: C62 D11 D21 E21 E23 O47
    Date: 2017
  14. By: Collewet, Marion (-); Sauermann, Jan (Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University)
    Abstract: This paper studies the link between working hours and productivity using daily information on working hours and performance of a sample of call centre agents. We exploit variation in the number of hours worked by the same employee across days and weeks due to central scheduling, enabling us to estimate the effect of working hours on productivity. We find that as the number of hours worked increases, the average handling time for a call increases, meaning that agents become less productive. This result suggests that fatigue can play an important role, even in jobs with mostly part-time workers.
    Keywords: working hours; productivity; output; labour demand
    JEL: J22 J23 M12 M54
    Date: 2017–04–07
  15. By: Greta Falavigna (Ceris - Institute for Economic Research on Firms and Growth,Turin, Italy); Alessandro Manello (Ceris - Institute for Economic Research on Firms and Growth,Turin, Italy)
    Abstract: This paper presents an analysis of relationships between collaborations and scientific outputs of the Italian National Research Council (CNR). In order to evaluate collaborations among CNR institutes and between CNR institutes and universities, social network metrics have been applied with the aim to measure relationships and to understand if to cooperate allows researchers to publish higher quality outputs, improving their labour productivity. Research institutes are considered as nodes of the internal collaboration network, following the main aim of recent reform. Collaborations are stimulated not only by governments with the aim to have knowledge spillovers but they can improve citations and also their reputation. This last is extremely relevant for winning competitions, calls or grants. In this paper authors used data of scientific publications related to all institutes of CNR for the 2007 year and they ask to the question if researchers that publish more and better are those that collaborate more.
  16. By: Mintewab Bezabih; Stein Holden; Andrea Mannberg
    Abstract: This paper analyses the impact of a low-cost land certification programme on the productivity of female-headed households. The hypotheses tested in the paper emphasise on the interaction between the constraints that female-headed households face in terms of insecure land tenure, lack of productive resources and suboptimal land market participation, on the one hand, and the tenure security benefits of certification on the other. Our findings show that land certification has a positive effect on land market participation and productivity. Our analysis also suggests higher marginal effects of certification on female-headed households’ productivity, compared to the male ones.
    JEL: J1 Q15
    Date: 2016–04–25
  17. By: Sato, Yoshihiro (European Institute of Japanese Studies); Ando, Michihito (National Institute of Population and Social Security Research)
    Abstract: We analyze whether gender composition at non-board managerial levels has any impact on firm productivity and other related outcomes in the service sector using a linked employer-employee dataset from Sweden. Exploiting within-firm variation, we apply a difference-in-differences propensity score matching method to address an endogeneity issue. Our results suggest no significant effects on productivity but significant positive effects on firms' growth in terms of value added and labor inputs when a firm “replaces” a male manager with a woman. We do not observe any impact when a firm “appoints” a woman instead of a man to a new managerial position.
    Keywords: Gender; Gender diversity; Firm productivity; Manager; Difference-in-differences matching; Propensity score matching
    JEL: J16 J24 J71 J82
    Date: 2017–01–09
  18. By: Holmlund, Helena (IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy); Böhlmark, Anders (Stockholm University)
    Abstract: This paper studies the effects of school organisation on short- and long-run pupil outcomes, exploiting a policy change that reorganised Swedish middle school education. The reorganisation induced pupils to remain in small local schools throughout grades 1–9, as opposed to making a transition to large middle schools between grades 6 and 7. We find that the reorganisation had large consequences for pupils, who came to attend smaller schools closer to home, whose teachers had lower qualifications. Despite that the previous literature has found that school transitions and school size are important inputs in the education production function, we find no evidence that remaining in a small local school and avoiding a transition to a large middle school had effects on educational outcomes. We reconcile our evidence with the previous literature using a survey which shows that Swedish pupils do not perceive large differences in the school environment between schools of different grade configurations.
    Keywords: grade configuration; educational production; school transitions; school size
    JEL: H52 I21 I28
    Date: 2017–05–18
  19. By: Gharad Bryan; Melanie Morten
    Abstract: We estimate the aggregate productivity gains from reducing barriers to internal labor migration in Indonesia, accounting for worker selection and spatial differences in human capital. We distinguish between movement costs, which mean workers will only move if they expect higher wages, and amenity differences, which mean some locations must pay more to attract workers. We find modest but important aggregate impacts. We estimate a 22% increase in labor productivity from removing all barriers. Reducing migration costs to the US level, a high mobility benchmark, leads to an 8% productivity boost. These figures hides substantial heterogeneity. The origin population that benefits most sees an 104% increase in average earnings from a complete barrier removal, or a 37% increase from moving to the US benchmark.
    JEL: J61 O18 O53 R12 R23
    Date: 2017–06
  20. By: Egebark, Johan (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN)); Kaunitz, Niklas (Department of Economics, Stockholm University)
    Abstract: The Swedish employer paid payroll tax was reduced substantially for young workers in 2007, causing firms’ average social fees to depend on the age structure of their employees. Using pre-reform conditions to define treated and control firms, we show that the lower costs induced by the reduced taxes have no impact on exit rates or profitability. We find negligible effects on gross investments, and negative, but not statistically significant, effects on labor productivity.
    Keywords: Payroll taxes; Labor costs; Profitability; Labor productivity; Investments; Windfall gain; Tax subsidy; Firm survival
    JEL: D22 H22 J38 L25
    Date: 2017–06–20
  21. By: Giorgio Canarella (University of Nevada, Las Vegas); Stephen M. Miller (University of Nevada, Las Vegas)
    Abstract: Why do some firms grow faster than others? This question has become the focus of a large number of empirical studies in industrial organization, strategic management, and entrepreneurship since the publications of Gibrat (1931) and Penrose (1959). Using an unbalanced panel data set of 85 U.S. information and communication technology (ICT) firms that survived over the period from 1990 to 2013, we examine the effect of firm size, agency costs, R&D investments, capital structure, profitability, and the Great Recession of 2007-2009 on firm growth. Adopting the two-step, system, generalized-method-of-moments estimator for linear dynamic panel models (Blundell and Bond, 1998), we document that growth in the ICT industry is not stochastic, as predicted by Gibrat (1931), but driven by systematic factors. We find compelling evidence that in the ICT industry: (i) firm growth exhibits positive persistence, which endorses the controversial "success-breeds-success" evolutionary hypothesis; (ii) agency costs and financial leverage exert a negative effect on firm growth; (iii) R&D investment and financial performance generate a positive effect on firm growth; (iv) the Great Recession (2007-2009) produced a negative effect on firm growth; (v) a nonlinear, inverted U-shaped relationship exists between firm size and firm growth; and (vi) Gibrat’s law does not hold. Our findings remain robust to transformations using first differences and forward orthogonal deviations as well as principal components reductions. These results are new to the literature, since the dynamics of firm growth has not been documented at the ICT industry level. Noteworthy policy implications emerge because the growth dynamics of the ICT industry move this sector toward more concentration and less competition.
    Keywords: ICT industry; Agency costs; Firm growth; Panel data; system-GMM
    JEL: G21 G28 G32 G34
    Date: 2017–06
  22. By: Marisa von Fintel (Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University); Servaas van der Berg (Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University)
    Abstract: In this paper we utilise a unique longitudinal school dataset from the Western Cape province of South Africa. We first explore the degree of persistence in the academic performance of learners over time in order to illustrate the importance of early detection of poor performance within the system. Thereafter, we make use of the longitudinal nature of the dataset in order to estimate the impact of school quality on academic performance following a fixed effects approach. We find that moving from a weaker school to a top performing school (a school within the top 20% of the performance distribution) is associated with an increase of 28% of a standard deviation in performance in mathematics, which translates to almost 1 additional year of education. For language, the impact is smaller at 6% of a standard deviation. However, this grows to 12% of a standard deviation for the sample of black learners, who might benefit the most from moving to a high performing school where the language used for instruction in all other subjects is taught well. These findings have important policy conclusions within the South African context, where school quality is heterogeneous and the weak performance of schools at the bottom of the performance distribution contribute to the perpetuation of poverty over time.
    Keywords: School quality, school choice, longitudinal data, South Africa
    JEL: I21 I24 I28 J13 O15
    Date: 2017
  23. By: Chávez Juan Carlos; Fonseca Felipe J.; Gómez Zaldívar Manuel de Jesús
    Abstract: We analyze the relationship between the economic growth rate and a rule of law indicator in Mexican states during the period 2006-2013. Specifically, we employ information regarding the time it takes to solve commercial disputes in local courts, which we use as a proxy variable to measure the efficiency of the justice system. In principle, we expect that the shorter the time it takes to resolve commercial disputes, the higher the growth rates will be in the states where the firms are located. The results suggest that a 100-day decrease in the average time it takes to resolve a commercial dispute is associated with an increase of 0.6 percent in the growth rate of state per capita GDP.
    Keywords: Economic Growth;Justice System;Regional Economies
    JEL: O43
    Date: 2017–06
  24. By: John G. Fernald; Robert E. Hall; James H. Stock; Mark W. Watson
    Abstract: U.S. output has expanded only slowly since the recession trough in 2009, even though the unemployment rate has essentially returned to a pre-crisis, normal level. We use a growth-accounting decomposition to explore explanations for the output shortfall, giving full treatment to cyclical effects that, given the depth of the recession, should have implied unusually fast growth. We find that the growth shortfall has almost entirely reflected two factors: the slow growth of total factor productivity, and the decline in labor force participation. Both factors reflect powerful adverse forces that are largely unrelated to the financial crisis and recession—and that were in play before the recession.
    JEL: E22 E24 E32 J21
    Date: 2017–06
  25. By: Julia Varga (Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences)
    Abstract: Using country panel data of student achievement from PISA, 2003-2012 combined with national-level teacher salary data from the OECD; this study investigates if relatively short term -5-years - changes in the level and structure of statutory teacher salaries affect student performance in the European countries. Our results show that there are marked differences between subjects and by the experience of teachers. Higher statutory teacher salaries and larger growth of teacher salaries at the first part of teachers’ career increase students’ maths and science performance, while the effect was less pronounced on reading performance and at the second part of teacher career. Nevertheless, the reason for the lack of the effect of teacher salaries at the second part of teachers’ career may be the result of the lack of data on teachers’ actual salaries.
    Keywords: teacher salaries, student performance, international, PISA, random effect, two-step method
    JEL: I20 J31 J45 C23
    Date: 2017–01

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