nep-eff New Economics Papers
on Efficiency and Productivity
Issue of 2019‒01‒28
twelve papers chosen by

  1. Ownership and Hospital Productivity By Brigitte Dormont; Carine Milcent
  2. Heterogeneity, Measurement Error and Misallocation: Evidence from African Agriculture By Douglas Gollin; Christopher R. Udry
  3. Is there a Latin American agricultural growth pattern? Factor endowments and productivity in the second half of the twentieth century By Miguel Martín-Retortillo; Vicente Pinilla; Jackeline Velazco; Henry Willebald
  4. Family firms and labour productivity: the role of enterprise-level bargaining in the Italian economy By Damiani, Mirella; Pompei, Fabrizio; Ricci, Andrea
  5. Family firms, performance-related pay and the great crisis: evidence from the Italian case By Pompei, Fabrizio; Damiani, Mirella; Andrea, Ricci
  6. The Public Sector and the Misallocation of Labor: Evidence from a Policy Experiment in India By Matthew Baird; A.V. Chari; Shanthi Nataraj; Alexander Rothenberg; Shqiponja Telhaj; L. Alan Winters
  7. Transport Infrastructure, City Productivity Growth and Sectoral Reallocation: Evidence from China By Yang Yang
  8. The role of employee incentive pay in the competitiveness of family and non-family firms By Damiani, Mirella; Pompei, Fabrizio; Ricci, Andrea
  9. Total factor productivity (TFP) and fiscal consolidation: how harmful is austerity? By Ioanna Bardaka; Ioannis Bournakis; Georgia Kaplanoglou
  10. Labour shares, employment protection and unions in European economies By Damiani, Mirella; Pompei, Fabrizio; Andrea, Ricci
  11. Where Did Good Jobs Go? Acemoglu and Marx on Induced (Skill Replacing) Technical Change By Korkut Alp Erturk
  12. Firm-level Drivers of Export Performance and External Competitiveness in Italy By Emanuele Brancati; Raffaele Brancati; Dario Guarascio; Andrea Maresca; Manuel Romagnoli; Antonello Zanfei

  1. By: Brigitte Dormont (UP9 - Université Paris 9, Dauphine - Université Paris-Dauphine); Carine Milcent (PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: There is ongoing debate about the effect of ownership on hospital performance as regards efficiency and care quality. This paper proposes an analysis of the differences in productivity and efficiency between French public and private hospitals. In France, public and private hospitals do not only differ in their objectives. They are also subject to different rules as regards investments and human resources management. In addition, they were financed according to different payment schemes until 2004: a global budget system was used for public hospitals, while private hospitals were paid on a fee-for-service basis. Since 2004, a prospective payment system (PPS) with fixed payment per stay in a given DRG is gradually introduced for both private and public hospitals. Payments generally differ for the same DRG, depending on whether the stay occurred in a private or public hospital. A convergence of payments between the nonprofit and for profit sectors was planned by 2018 by the previous government, but this project has been abandoned by the newly elected government. Pursuing such a convergence comes down to suppose that there are differences in efficiency between private and public hospitals, which would be reduced by the introduction of competition between these two sectors. The purpose of this paper is to compare the productivity of public and private hospitals in France. We try to assess the respective impacts, on productivity differences, of differences in efficiency, patient characteristics and production composition. We have chosen to estimate a production function. For that purpose, we have defined a variable measuring the volume of care services provided by each hospital, synthetizing the hospital multiproduct activity into one homogenous output. Our data comes from two administrative sources which record exhaustive information about French hospitals. Matching these two database provides us an original source of information, at the hospital-year level, about both the production composition (number of stays in each DRG), and production factors (number of beds, facilities, number of doctors, nurses, of administrative and support staff, etc.). We observe 1,604 hospitals over the period 1998-2003, of which 642 hospitals are public, 126 are private not-for-profit and 836 are private-for-profit. This database is relative to acute care and covers more than 95 % of French hospitals. We use a stochastic production frontier approach combined with hospitals fixed effects. We find that the lower productivity of public hospitals is not explained by inefficiency (distance to the frontier), but oversized establishments, patient characteristics and production characteristics (small proportion of surgical stays). Once patient and production characteristics are taken into account, large and medium sized public hospitals appear to be more efficient than private hospitals. As a result, payment convergence would provide incentives for public hospitals to change the composition of their supply for care.
    Date: 2018
  2. By: Douglas Gollin; Christopher R. Udry
    Abstract: Standard measures of productivity display enormous dispersion across farms in Africa. Crop yields and input intensities appear to vary greatly, seemingly in conflict with a model of efficient allocation across farms. In this paper, we present a theoretical framework for distinguishing between measurement error, unobserved heterogeneity, and potential misallocation. Using rich panel data from farms in Tanzania and Uganda, we estimate our model using a flexible specification in which we allow for several kinds of measurement error and heterogeneity. We find that measurement error and heterogeneity together account for a large fraction – as much as ninety percent -- of the dispersion in measured productivity. In contrast to some previous estimates, we suggest that the potential for efficiency gains through reallocation of land across farms and farmers may be relatively modest.
    JEL: O1 O11 O12 O13 Q1
    Date: 2019–01
  3. By: Miguel Martín-Retortillo (Universidad de Alcalá); Vicente Pinilla (Universidad de Zaragoza and Instituto Agroalimentario de Aragón (IA2)); Jackeline Velazco (Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú); Henry Willebald (Universidad de la República)
    Abstract: In this article we discuss whether there was a single Latin American pattern of agricultural growth between 1950 and 2008. We analyse the sources of growth of agricultural production and productivity in ten Latin American countries. Our results show that the differences between these countries are too strong to establish a single pattern for this region. However, certain common trends may be observed, such as the growing importance of labour productivity to explain agricultural production growth and the increasing importance of TFP to explain agricultural labour productivity growth.
    Keywords: Latin American Economic History, Latin American Agriculture, Agricultural Productivity, Agricultural Growth, Total Factor Productivity
    JEL: N56 Q10 Q11
    Date: 2019–01
  4. By: Damiani, Mirella; Pompei, Fabrizio; Ricci, Andrea
    Abstract: We investigate the role of Italian firms in labour productivity performance. We find that family-owned firms have lower labour productivity than their non-family counterparts. In a second step, we estimate the role of firm-level bargaining (FLB) to determine whether family-controlled firms that adopt this type of bargaining may partially close the gap in terms of labour productivity with their non-family competitors. Our results, obtained through IV estimation to control for endogeneity bias, suggest that enterprises under family governance achieve significant labour productivity gains — greater than those achieved by their non-family counterparts — when they adopt firm-level bargaining.
    Keywords: Family firms, corporate governance, labour productivity, firm-level bargaining
    JEL: D24 G32 G34
    Date: 2018–10
  5. By: Pompei, Fabrizio; Damiani, Mirella; Andrea, Ricci
    Abstract: This article analyses how Italian family firms (FFs) have acted during the global great crisis in comparison to their nonfamily counterparts using a sample of almost 4500 firms for 2007 and 2010. We study whether family control affects labor productivity, labor costs, and competitiveness and how family and nonfamily firm (NFFs) have responded to the great crisis. Furthermore, we test whether the adoption of performance-related pay (PRP) for employees offers an efficacious strategy to mitigate the effects of the crisis. Quantile regression techniques have been used to test the heterogeneous role of PRP, and its possible endogeneity has been taken into account in the empirical investigation. After the outbreak of the crisis, the distance in terms of the competitiveness of FFs in relation to their nonfamily counterparts increased. However, we also find that FFs may take advantage of the adoption of incentive schemes, such as PRP, to encourage commitment and motivation from their employees more than NFFs do. The positive role of PRP on labor productivity, coupled with a moderate influence of these schemes on wage premiums, enables them to regain competitiveness. In addition, for FFs located in industrial districts in which social rules prevail on formal rules, the adoption of PRP has exerted additional positive effects under hostile pressures, such as those characterizing the strong global crisis.
    Keywords: Family firms, performance-related pay, quantile regressions, productivity
    JEL: D24 G32 J33
    Date: 2018–12–06
  6. By: Matthew Baird; A.V. Chari; Shanthi Nataraj; Alexander Rothenberg; Shqiponja Telhaj; L. Alan Winters
    Abstract: State-owned enterprises are often thought to represent a distortion in the labor market, but the implied efficiency losses have not been carefully estimated. This paper presents the first rigorous quantification of the aggregate productivity effects of privatization of public sector enterprises. We study historical episodes of privatization of public sector firms in India over the period 1991-2005, and find evidence of reallocation of labor away from the public sector following privatization. In turn, this reallocation appears to result in a substantial improvement in aggregate productivity and output.
    Keywords: labor, public sector, India
    JEL: J2
    Date: 2019–01
  7. By: Yang Yang
    Abstract: This paper examines the impact of highway expansion on aggregate productivity growth and sectoral reallocation between cities in China. To do so, I construct a unique dataset of bilateral transportation costs between Chinese cities, digitized highway network maps, and firm-level census. I first derive and estimate a market access measure that summarizes all direct and indirect impact of trade costs on city productivity. I then construct an instrumental variable to examine the causal impact of highways on economic outcomes and the underlying channels. The results suggest that highways promoted aggregate productivity growth by facilitating firm entry, exit and reallocation. I also find evidence that the national highway system led to a sectoral reallocation between cities in China.
    Date: 2018–12–11
  8. By: Damiani, Mirella; Pompei, Fabrizio; Ricci, Andrea
    Abstract: Insufficient attention has been paid to the different roles of wage incentives in the competitiveness of family and non-family firms. This paper addresses this issue and uses a sample of listed and non-listed Italian firms for 2007 and 2010 to show that family firms that adopt incentive wages obtain greater gains in competitiveness with respect to non-family firms. Unlike what occurs in non-family firms, the efficiency enhancing effect of incentive wages more than compensates for the premiums paid to employees and enables family firms to achieve significant gains in terms of competitiveness.
    Keywords: Family firms Performance-related pay Labour productivity Wages Competitiveness
    JEL: D24 G32 J33
    Date: 2018–11–15
  9. By: Ioanna Bardaka (Bank of Greece); Ioannis Bournakis (Middlesex University); Georgia Kaplanoglou (University of Athens)
    Abstract: Departing from the expansionary austerity literature, this study assesses empirically whether fiscal consolidation propagates changes in the supply side of the economy that can potentially influence total factor productivity. Using a panel dataset of 26 OECD countries over the period 1980-2016 and employing panel vector autoregressive and error correction model specifications, we present evidence of both short-run and long-run negative effects of fiscal consolidation on TFP. The short-run impact is disproportionately more damaging for the TFP of low debt countries, while, contrary to the expansionary austerity thesis, our empirical results would advise against spending-driven fiscal consolidation, since such consolidation undermines capacity due to the importance of government spending in shaping productive capital. Our results have serious policy implications for the implementation and design of fiscal adjustment programmes.
    Keywords: total factor productivity; fiscal consolidation; OECD countries; austerity; growth
    JEL: E62 C23 H68
    Date: 2018–12
  10. By: Damiani, Mirella; Pompei, Fabrizio; Andrea, Ricci
    Abstract: We analyse the role that the liberalization of temporary contracts plays in labour share in some EU countries. The empirical analysis mainly relies on the EUKLEMS database and applies a difference-in-difference approach. Our results, focused on periods of different length (1996–2007 and 1996–2013), show that legislative innovations that favour the extensive use of temporary contracts negatively affect the labour share, likely because they lower employees’ average compensations. We hypothesize that these labour reforms, which lead to enduring skill deficits, thus failing to halt the erosion of the labour share of previous decades.
    Keywords: factor income distribution, labour regulation
    JEL: E25 J50
    Date: 2018–06
  11. By: Korkut Alp Erturk
    Abstract: The paper lays out a hypothesis about the effect global oversupply of labor had on induced technological change, clarifying how it might have contributed to the demand reversal for high skill workers and other recent observed trends in technological change in the US. The argument considers the effect of market friendly political/institutional transformations of the 1980s on technology as they created a potential for an integrated global labor market. The innovations induced by the promise of this potential eventually culminated in the creation of global value chains and production networks. These required large set up costs and skill enhancing innovations, but once in place they reduced the dependence of expanding low skill employment around the globe on skill intensive inputs from advanced countries, giving rise to the wellobserved high skill demand reversal and sputtering of IT investment.
    Keywords: Income inequality, job polarization, skill downgrading, induced technological change, organization of work, craft economy, global production networks JEL Classification: F60, F15, 030, E10, B51
    Date: 2019
  12. By: Emanuele Brancati; Raffaele Brancati; Dario Guarascio; Andrea Maresca; Manuel Romagnoli; Antonello Zanfei
    Abstract: This paper provides an in-depth study on the main firm-level drivers of external competitiveness during the recent crisis in Italy. We contribute to the debate on the Italian international position by presenting evidence based on a unique sample survey database (the MET dataset). Overall, our results confirm the high degree of heterogeneity of the Italian corporate sector and the well-known differences between internationalised and domestic companies in terms of performance as well as structure and behaviour. In particular, the data highlight not only the correlation between internationalisation and innovative activities but also a positive change of attitude of Italian firms towards these strategies. Our analysis shows that, whilst structural factors play a key role for external competitiveness (size, location, industry, etc.), other critical firm-level aspects, especially those related to strategic profiles, technological capabilities, and ‘proactive’ behaviour, trigger superior performances. To this extent, our policy suggestions focus on the need to sustain and foster innovative activities to improve aggregate competitiveness.
    JEL: F14 L25 O31 O33
    Date: 2018–09

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