nep-eff New Economics Papers
on Efficiency and Productivity
Issue of 2018‒10‒29
25 papers chosen by

  1. Productivity analysis by using firm-level data: the case of Macedonia By Biljana Jovanovic
  2. Investment climate, outward orientation and manufacturing firm productivity: New empirical evidence By M.A. Véganzonès-Varoudakis; Hoang Thanh Mai Nguyen
  3. Can Education Compensate the Effect of Population Aging On Macroeconomic Performance? By Kotschy, Rainer; Sunde, Uwe
  4. Neodualism in the Italian business firms: training, organizational capabilities and productivity distributions By Giovanni Dosi; Dario Guarascio; Andrea Ricci; Maria Enrica Virgillito
  5. Granular sources of the Italian business cycle By Nicolò Gnocato; Concetta Rondinelli
  6. Leisure time and labor productivity: A new economic view rooted from sociological perspective By Cui, Dan; Wei, Xiang; Wu, Dianting; Cui, Nana; Nijkamp, Peter
  7. Combining uncertainty with uncertainty to get certainty? Efficiency analysis for regulation purposes By Andor, Mark A.; Parmeter, Christopher; Sommer, Stephan
  8. The measurement of labour content: a general approach By Naoki Yoshihara; Roberto Veneziani
  9. Productivity measurement, R&D assets and mark-ups in OECD countries By Paul Schreyer; Belen Zinni
  10. New Imported Inputs, Wages and Worker Mobility By Italo Colantone; Alessia Matano; Paolo Naticchioni
  11. Do the financial sources of external funds affect research productivity? -A departmental level analysis of seven former imperial universities of Japan By Miki Miyaki; Yuko Okajima
  12. IT and productivity: A firm level analysis By Emannuel Dhyne; Joep Konings; Joep Konings; Stijn Vanormelingen,
  13. Productivity in Emerging-Market Economies: Slowdown or Stagnation? By José De Gregorio
  14. Economic Impacts, Costs and Benefits of Infrastructure Investment— Review of the Literature By Pender, John; Torero, Maximo
  15. What do we know about R&D spillovers and productivity? Meta-analysis on heterogeneity and statistical power By Ugur, Mehmet; Awaworyi Churchill, Sefa; Luong, Hoang Minh
  16. Productivity and Quality-of-Life Benefits to Rural Infrastructure By Albouy, David; Farahani, Arash; Kim, Heejin
  17. The Minimum Wage and Worker Productivity: A Case Study of California Strawberry Pickers By Hill, Alexandra E.
  19. Productivity in Emerging Market Economies: Slowdown or Stagnation? By José De Gregorio
  23. The Effect of Common Ownership on Profits : Evidence From the U.S. Banking Industry By Jacob P. Gramlich; Serafin J. Grundl
  25. Measuring Economies of Scale in German Housing Companies By Markus Mändle; Hannah Schmid

  1. By: Biljana Jovanovic (National Bank of Republic of Macedonia)
    Abstract: Productivity, the efficiency by which firms convert inputs into output is central concept in growth related discussions. This research is focused on analyzing productivity on a sample of Macedonian firms. The goal is twofold – first, to construct productivity indicators by using firm-level data, with special focus to construction of total factor productivity (TFP), and, second to identify productivity determinants specific for Macedonian firms. Results are in line with the global productivity trends –there is significant slowdown in productivity growth in 2016. This is true for labour productivity, as well as for the TFP measure. However, the period is relatively short to conclude that this shift is of permanent, structural nature, especially having in mind the trend of reducing unemployment in the economy. As productivity determinants are concerned, econometric research confirms the importance of financial health, human capital and firms’ size as significant factors that affect the productivity of Macedonian firms.
    Keywords: micro data, productivity, total factor productivity
    JEL: D22 D24
    Date: 2018
  2. By: M.A. Véganzonès-Varoudakis (CERDI - Centre d'Études et de Recherches sur le Développement International - Clermont Auvergne - UCA - Université Clermont Auvergne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Hoang Thanh Mai Nguyen (KU Leuven - Catholic University of Leuven)
    Abstract: Drawing on the World Bank Enterprise Surveys, we revisit the link between firm-level investment climate and productive performance for a panel of enterprises surveyed twice in time in 70 developing countries and 11 manufacturing industries. We take advantage of the time dimension available for an increasing number of countries to tackle the endogeneity issue stressed in previous studies. We also use pertinent econometric techniques to address other biases inherent in the data (e.g.measurement errors, missing observations and multicollinearity). Our results reinforce previous findings by validating, with a larger than usual sample of countries and industries, the importance of a larger set of environment variables. We show that infrastructure quality, information & communication technologies, skills and experience of the labour force, cost of and access to financing, security and political stability, competition and government relation contribute to firms' and countries' performances gap. The empirical analysis also illustrates that firms which choose an outward orientation have higher productivity level. Nevertheless, outward oriented enterprises are more sensitive to investment climate limitations. These findings have important policy implications by showing which dimensions of the business environment, in which industry, could help manufacturing firms to be more competitive in the present context of increasing globalization.
    Keywords: Investment climate,outward orientation,total factor productivity,manufacturing,firm-level data
    Date: 2018
  3. By: Kotschy, Rainer (LMU Munich); Sunde, Uwe (LMU Munich)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the consequences of population aging and of changes in the education composition of the population for macroeconomic performance. Estimation results from a theoretically founded empirical framework show that aging as well as the education composition of the population influence economic performance. The estimates and simulations based on population projections and different counterfactual scenarios show that population aging will have a substantial negative consequence for macroeconomic performance in many countries in the years to come. The results also suggest that education expansions tend to offset the negative effects, but that the extent to which they compensate the aging effects differs vastly across countries. The simulations illustrate the heterogeneity in the effects of population aging on economic performance across countries, depending on their current age and education composition. The estimates provide a method to quantify the increase in education that is required to offset the negative consequences of population aging. Counterfactual changes in labor force participation and productivity required to neutralize aging are found to be substantial.
    Keywords: demographic change; demographic structure; distribution of skills; projections; education-aging-elasticity;
    JEL: J11 O47
    Date: 2018–10–17
  4. By: Giovanni Dosi; Dario Guarascio; Andrea Ricci; Maria Enrica Virgillito
    Abstract: What has been the dynamics of productivity in the Italian business firms in the aftermath of the crisis? And what has been the impact of training efforts upon such dynamics? In this work we address these questions exploring a unique Italian microlevel dataset which links information on the amount and the nature of training and the balance-sheet data. First, we document what we call a neo-dualist tendency with a leader-laggard dynamics entailing a widening support of the productivity distributions. Second, we analyze the relationship between productivities and training intensities by means of quantile regression analysis, also controlling for additive fixed effects by means of Canay (2011) technique. There is indeed some relationship in the whole sample which however gets weaker when disaggregating by sector and by size. Moreover, hardly any dynamic relationship appears, either between initial training intensities and subsequent productivity changes, nor between changes in both variables. Our results do not imply of course that training is not important, but that its effectiveness must be shaped by other firm-specific characteristics, plausibly associated with idiosyncratic organizational capabilities.
    Keywords: productivity, firm-level heterogeneity, training, organizational capabilities
    Date: 2018–10–25
  5. By: Nicolò Gnocato (Bank of Italy); Concetta Rondinelli
    Abstract: A recent strand of literature has investigated the granular sources of the business cycle, i.e. to what extent firm-level dynamics have an impact on aggregate fluctuations. From a conceptual point of view, in the presence of fat-tailed firm-size distributions, shocks to large firms may not average out and may then have a direct effect on aggregate fluctuations; in addition, firm-to-firm linkages can propagate shocks to individual firms, leading to movements at the aggregate level. Using Cerved and INPS data, we test the granular hypothesis on a large sample of Italian firms, covering the period 1999-2014. Idiosyncratic Total Factor Productivity (TFP) shocks are found to explain around 30 per cent of aggregate TFP volatility; furthermore, the contribution of these linkages to firm-specific aggregate volatility is more important than that of the direct effect, especially for the manufacturing sector.
    Keywords: aggregate fluctuations, firm-level dynamics, productivity
    JEL: D24 E32 L25
    Date: 2018–09
  6. By: Cui, Dan; Wei, Xiang; Wu, Dianting; Cui, Nana; Nijkamp, Peter
    Abstract: Most economists measure labor productivity based on activities conducted at places of work and do not consider leisure time in their calculations. In contrast, psychologists and sociologists argue that leisure has a positive role in the production process: leisure can improve individuals' labor productivity by affecting their self-development. Using empirical data from 21 OECD countries, this study finds that leisure time has a dual effect on labor productivity in terms of per capita per hour GDP. Moreover, leisure time is nonlinearly associated with labor productivity (inverted U-shaped). When leisure time reaches the optimal level (5813 hours), leisure has a compensatory effect on work and can positively influence labor productivity, but when leisure time exceeds the optimal value, leisure has a substitution effect on work and can negatively influence labor productivity.
    Keywords: leisure time,labor productivity,per capita per hour GDP,dual effect,curvilinear relationship
    JEL: D24 D61
    Date: 2018
  7. By: Andor, Mark A.; Parmeter, Christopher; Sommer, Stephan
    Abstract: Data envelopment analysis (DEA) and stochastic frontier analysis (SFA), as well as combinations thereof, are widely applied in incentive regulation practice, where the assessment of efficiency plays a major role in regulation design and benchmarking. Using a Monte Carlo simulation experiment, this paper compares the performance of six alternative methods commonly applied by regulators. Our results demonstrate that combination approaches, such as taking the maximum or the mean over DEA and SFA efficiency scores, have certain practical merits and might offer an useful alternative to strict reliance on a singular method. In particular, the results highlight that taking the maximum not only minimizes the risk of underestimation, but can also improve the precision of efficiency estimation. Based on our results, we give recommendations for the estimation of individual efficiencies for regulation purposes and beyond.
    Keywords: data envelopment analysis,stochastic frontier analysis,efficiency analysis,regulation,network operators
    JEL: C10 C50 D24 L50
    Date: 2018
  8. By: Naoki Yoshihara (School of Economics and Management, Kochi University of Technology); Roberto Veneziani (Queen Mary University of London)
    Abstract: This paper analyses the theoretical issues related to the measurement of the amount of labour used in the production of — or contained in — a bundle of goods for general technologies with heterogeneous labour. A novel axiomatic framework is used in order to formulate the key properties of the notion of labour content and analyse its theoretical foundations. The main measures of labour content used in various strands of the literature are then characterised. Quite surprisingly, a unique axiomatic structure can be identified which underlies measures of labour aggregates used in such diverse fields as neoclassical growth theory, input-output approaches, productivity analysis, and classical political economy.
    Keywords: labour content, labour productivity, technical change, axiomatic analysis
    JEL: D57 J24 O33
    Date: 2018–10
  9. By: Paul Schreyer (OECD); Belen Zinni (OECD)
    Abstract: A key feature of the 2008 revision of the System of National Accounts was the treatment of R&D expenditure as investment. The question arises whether the standard approach towards accounting for growth contribution of assets is justified given the special nature of R&D that provides capital services by affecting the working of other inputs as a whole – akin to technical change and often requires up-front investment with sunk costs. We model R&D inputs with a restricted cost function and compare econometric estimates with those derived under a standard index number approach but find no significant differences. However, we cannot reject the hypothesis of increasing returns to scale. The standard MFP measure is then broken down into a scale effect and a residual productivity effect, each of which explains about half of overall MFP change. The scale effect points to the importance of the demand side and market size for productivity growth. We also compute mark-up rates of prices over marginal cost and find widespread evidence of rising mark-ups for the period 1985-2016.
    Keywords: Mark-ups, Productivity, R&D, Returns to scale
    JEL: D24
    Date: 2018–10–29
  10. By: Italo Colantone (Bocconi University); Alessia Matano (AQR-IREA, Department of Econometrics, Statistics and Applied Economics, Universitat de Barcelona); Paolo Naticchioni (Roma Tre University, IZA and INPS)
    Abstract: We provide a comprehensive assessment of the effects of new imported inputs on wage dynamics, on the skill-composition of the labor force, on worker mobility, and on the efficiency of matching between firms and workers. We employ matched employer-employee data for Italy, over 1995-2007. We complement these data with information on the arrival of new imported inputs at the industry level. We find new imported inputs to have a positive effect on average wage growth at the firm level. This effect is driven by two factors: (1) an increase in the white-collar/blue-collar ratio; and (2) an increase in the average wage growth of blue-collar workers, while the wage growth of white collars is not significantly affected. The individual-level analysis reveals that the increase in the average wage of blue collars is driven by the displacement of the lowest paid workers, while continuously employed individuals are not affected. We estimate the unobserved skills of workers following Abowd et al. (1999). We find evidence that new imported inputs lead to a positive selection of higher-skilled workers, and to an improvement in positive assortative matching between firms and workers.
    Keywords: New imported inputs, wages, matched employer-employee data.
    JEL: F14 F16
    Date: 2018–10
  11. By: Miki Miyaki (Chuo University, Faculty of Economics); Yuko Okajima (Osaka University, Office of Management and Planning)
    Abstract: This study examines the research productivity of departments in seven former imperial universities of Japan. We categorize the departments into five academic fields: engineering, health sciences (i.e., medicine, dentistry and pharmaceutical), economics, science, and agriculture. Then, the impact of fundamental and external research funds is examined to see whether they positively affect research productivity-measured by the number of papers accepted in peer-reviewed, international academic journals. Additionally, we investigate whether such external funding sources affect productivity in each of the five fields differently, noting any variation between them. The estimation results reveal that, first, the increase of fundamental and external funds per faculty member is positively correlated with research productivity in the fields of engineering and health sciences. Second, considering the results of further investigation into the effects of external funding, research funding by the public sector can increase productivity in each of the five academic fields. Third, the results pertaining to private research funds show that research funding provided by firms can increase productivity in engineering and health sciences. However, for economics, the increase in external funding from firms is negatively correlated with research productivity. This result might be because the purpose of industry-university collaboration differs according to the academic field. Regarding economics, the output from the resulting collaboration might not result in the production of an academic paper, but rather make policy recommendations or provide consulting using quantitative analysis. This study is the first attempt by any Japanese university to analyze research productivity across several departments. The empirical results show that depending on the discipline, the same resources of research funding impact research productivity differently. Nowadays, the Japanese central government has been about the business of reforming resource allocation systems of universities by evaluating their research performance, basing them more on the quantitative indicators such as the key performance indicators (KPI). However, a key result of this study implies that when a relative evaluation of universities is applied, each university fs situation must be more carefully considered, especially in terms of what kinds of academic departments it has, and which specialties or segments it features.
    Keywords: financial sources, research productivity, departmental-level analysis, five academic fields
    JEL: I22 I23 I28
    Date: 2018–06
  12. By: Emannuel Dhyne (Economics and Research Department, National Bank of Belgium); Joep Konings (KU Leuven, VIVES; University of Liverpool Management School and CEPR); Joep Konings (KU Leuven, VIVES); Stijn Vanormelingen, (KU Leuven, Campus Brussels)
    Abstract: Using a novel comprehensive data set of IT investment at the firm level, we find that a firm investing an additional euro in IT increases value added by 1 euro and 38 cents on average. This marginal product of IT investment increases with firm size and varies across sectors. IT explains about 10% of productivity dispersion across firms. While we find substantial returns of IT at the firm level, such returns are much lower at the aggregate level. This is due to underinvestment in IT (IT capital deepening is low) and misallocation of IT investments.
    Keywords: Information technology, total factor productivty
    JEL: D24 L10 O14 O49
    Date: 2018–10
  13. By: José De Gregorio (Peterson Institute for International Economics)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes productivity growth trends in emerging-market economies vis-à-vis advanced economies, both in the recent global productivity slowdown and from a long-term perspective. While income has converged in most countries in the last three decades, total factor productivity has diverged. Periods of high productivity growth coincide with episodes of output accelerations, while during normal times productivity growth is modest. Most recently, the correlation between productivity growth in emerging markets and advanced economies has increased. This paper analyzes potential factors explaining this increase, which presumably is due to the slowdown in trade and microeconomic factors that underlie technology diffusion. It concludes with a discussion of long-term challenges and opportunities facing emerging-market economies in a low productivity environment.
    Keywords: Productivity growth, Emerging markets, Income convergence
    JEL: O40 O47 O57
    Date: 2018–10
  14. By: Pender, John; Torero, Maximo
    Abstract: This paper reviews literature on the impacts, costs, and benefits of infrastructure in the United States and developing countries, focusing on studies published since the early 1990s. A review of 28 econometric studies of productivity impacts of public capital in the United States found a wide range of estimates of the output elasticity of public capital (a measure of the percent increase in the value of output associated with a one percent increase in the value of the public capital stock) – ranging from -0.49 to +0.56, with a mean value of 0.12. The range of estimates depends on the unit of analysis, the type of public capital, and the method of analysis. Generally larger productivity impacts were found in national than in state-level studies and for water and sewer capital than for highway capital. Smaller impacts were found in studies that controlled for state-level fixed factors that affect productivity. These estimates imply an even wider range of estimates of the marginal rate of return to public capital stocks, ranging from close to zero for highway stocks to nearly 90 percent for water and sewer capital. Similarly large ranges of rates of return were estimated by studies investigating impacts of public capital on the costs or profits of firms. A few studies estimated the benefits of public capital stocks in U.S. cities including amenity benefits, and found that such benefits can be larger than the productivity benefits. The benefit-to-cost ratio (BCR) of public capital stocks estimated in these studies ranged from about 0.3 to greater than 2.0, depending on the assumptions of the econometric framework. Many econometric studies have investigated impacts of particular types of infrastructure in the U.S. and in developing countries, though few have estimated rates of return implied by the estimates. Model-based estimates of BCRs of infrastructure investments by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Federal Highway Administration suggest that BCRs greater than 1.0 are common for water and highway infrastructure projects, but no evidence was found in the literature reviewed that these have been validated using econometric approaches. Rigorous econometric impact evaluation methods to assess the causal impacts of infrastructure investments have been used by the Millennium Challenge Corporation and multilateral development banks to validate and improve the results of predictive models in some developing country contexts and have found some statistically significant impacts on railroads, roads, rural electrification, water and information and communication technologies (ICTs). Such an approach could be useful to apply in more contexts.
    Keywords: Community/Rural/Urban Development
    Date: 2018
  15. By: Ugur, Mehmet; Awaworyi Churchill, Sefa; Luong, Hoang Minh
    Abstract: Endogenous growth theory and the knowledge capital model predict that research and development (R&D) investment is associated with increasing returns and positive externalities. These insights have informed public support for R&D investment directly and indirectly. We aim to establish where the balance of the evidence lies, the extent to which the evidence has adequate statistical power, and which factors may explain the variation in the empirical findings. Drawing on 983 spillovers and 501 own-R&D effect-size estimates from 60 empirical studies, we find that the average productivity effect of spillovers: (i) is smaller than what is reported in most narrative reviews; (ii) is even smaller when only adequately-powered evidence is considered; (iii) differs by spillover types; and (iv) is not larger than that of own-R&D. We also report that the percentage of adequately-powered evidence is low (30%-55%). We highlight the implications of these findings for future research and public policy design.
    Keywords: Knowledge externalities; R&D spillovers; productivity; public policy; meta-analysis;
    JEL: C1 D24 O30 O32 O33
    Date: 2018–10–16
  16. By: Albouy, David; Farahani, Arash; Kim, Heejin
    Keywords: Community/Rural/Urban Development
    Date: 2018
  17. By: Hill, Alexandra E.
    Keywords: Household and Labor Economics, Productivity Analysis and Emerging Technologies, Behavioral & Institutional Economics
    Date: 2018–06–20
  18. By: Okoth, Ouko Kevin
    Keywords: Crop Production/Industries, Productivity Analysis
    Date: 2018–05
  19. By: José De Gregorio
    Abstract: This paper analyzes productivity growth trends in emerging-market economies vis-à-vis advanced economies, both in the recent global productivity slowdown and from a long-term perspective. While income has converged in most countries in the last three decades, total factor productivity has diverged. Periods of high productivity growth coincide with episodes of output accelerations, while during normal times productivity growth is modest. Most recently, the correlation between productivity growth in emerging markets and advanced economies has increased. This paper analyzes potential factors explaining this increase, which presumably is due to the slowdown in trade and microeconomic factors that underlie technology diffusion. It concludes with a discussion of long-term challenges and opportunities facing emerging-market economies in a low productivity environment.
    Date: 2018–10
  20. By: Phiri, Shakira
    Keywords: Agricultural and Food Policy, Productivity Analysis
    Date: 2018–02
  21. By: Chikobola, Musaka Mulanga
    Keywords: Crop Production/Industries, Production Economics, Productivity Analysis
    Date: 2017–03
  22. By: Mukami, Naomi Njeri
    Keywords: Crop Production/Industries, Production Economics, Productivity Analysis
    Date: 2018–05
  23. By: Jacob P. Gramlich; Serafin J. Grundl
    Abstract: Theory predicts that "common ownership" (ownership of rivals by a common shareholder) can be anticompetitive because it reduces the weight firms place on their own profits and shifts weight toward rival firms held by common shareholders. In this paper we use accounting data from the banking industry to examine empirically whether shifts in the profit weights are associated with shifts in profits. We present the distribution of a wide range of estimates that vary the specification, sample restrictions, and assumptions used to calculate the profit weights. The distribution of estimates is roughly centered around zero, but we find statistically significant estimates in either direction in some cases. Economically, most estimates are fairly small. Our interpretation of these findings is that there is little evidence for economically important effects of common ownership on profits in the banking industry.
    Keywords: Banking ; Common Ownership ; Competition ; Profits
    JEL: L10 L40 L20 G21 G34
    Date: 2018–10–03
  24. By: Msangi, Haji Athumani
    Keywords: Farm Management, Production Economics
    Date: 2017
  25. By: Markus Mändle; Hannah Schmid
    Abstract: During the last few years, several startling mergers have affected the German housing market. This raises the question whether such a concentration process is rational from an economic point of view. A justification of this practice could be the realization of economies of scale, assuming that the average cost for housing companies will reduce perceptibly with the size of the firm. According to Mansley, Ambrose, Fuerst and Wang (2016), economies of scale also exist for European Real Estate Companies. However, they conjecture, that the benefits of increasing scale derive in particular from internal growth, not from M&A activities. Furthermore, they suggest, that the benefits of economies of scale are greater for small companies than for larger companies. We analyze, whether these general across sector findings can be verified in the special case of the German housing industry. Due to eminent data problems, we discuss the possibilities and limits of different methods of measuring economies of scale, such as the cost estimation-approach, the profitability-approach and the survivor-approach.
    Keywords: Economies of Scale; Housing; Industrial Organization
    JEL: R3
    Date: 2018–01–01

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