nep-eff New Economics Papers
on Efficiency and Productivity
Issue of 2021‒01‒04
twenty-one papers chosen by

  1. The UK's great demand and supply recession By Nick Jacob; Giordano Mion
  2. The Effect of Climate Policy on Productivity and Cost Pass-Through in the German Manufacturing Sector By Beat Hintermann; Maja Žarković; Corrado Di Maria; Ulrich J. Wagner
  3. Environmental Efficiency and Productivity Analysis By Arnaud Abad
  5. Housing booms, reallocation and productivity By Sebastian Doerr
  6. Opening the Black Box of the Danish Dairy Cooperatives: A Productivity Analysis By Sofia Henriques; Eoin McLaughlin; Paul Sharp; Xanthi Tsoukli; Christian Veddel
  7. Firm undercapitalization in Italy: business crisis and survival before and after COVID-19 By Tommaso Orlando; Giacomo Rodano
  8. Absolute convergence in manufacturing labour productivity in Mexico, 1993–2018: A spatial econometrics analysis at the state and municipal level By Cabral, René; López Cabrera, Jesús Antonio; Padilla Pérez, Ramón
  9. How Do The Characteristics Of The Environment Influence University Efficiency? Evidence From A Conditional Efficiency Approach By Tommaso Agasisti; Aleksei Egorov; Pavel Serebrennikov
  10. Global Healthcare Resource Efficiency in the Management of COVID-19 Death and Infection Prevalence Rates By Breitenbach, Marthinus C; Ngobeni, Victor; Aye, Goodness C
  11. The Diffusion of Technological Progress in ICT By Steffen Elstner; Christian Grimme; Valentin Kecht; Robert Lehmann
  12. Profiting from big data analytics: The moderating roles of industry concentration and firm size By Elisabetta Raguseo; Claudio Vitari; Federico Pigni
  13. The Impact of Innovation on the Performance of Manufacturing Enterprises in Vietnam By , AISDL
  14. Bank Efficiency and Access to Credit: International Evidence By Francis OSEI-TUTU; Laurent WEILL
  15. How Does Working-Time Flexibility Affect Workers' Productivity in a Routine Job? Evidence from a Field Experiment By Marie Boltz; Bart Cockx; Ana Diaz; Luz Salas
  16. Implications of Cow Nutrition on Whole-Farm Profitability of Minnesota Dairy Farms By Gambonini, Alexandra
  17. Economic efficiency versus social equity: the productivity challenge for rice production in a `greying' rural Vietnam? By Hoa-Thi-Minh Nguyen; Huong Do; Tom Kompas
  18. Business Angels and Firm Performance: First Evidence from Population Data By W. Andersson, Fredrik; Lodefalk, Magnus
  19. Improving Efficiency in the Health Sector By Hui Sin Teo; Dao Lan Huong
  20. Best Techniques Leave Little Room for Substitution. A New Critique of the Production Function By Kersting, Götz; Schefold, Bertram
  21. Agricultural Productivity Growth and Poverty Reduction: Evidence from Thailand By Peter Warr; Waleerat Suphannachart

  1. By: Nick Jacob; Giordano Mion
    Abstract: We revisit UK's poor productivity performance since the Great Recession by means of both a suitable theoretical framework and firm-level prices and quantities data for detailed products allowing us to both measure demand, and its changes over time, and distinguish between quantity total factor productivity (TFP-Q), i.e., the capacity to turn inputs into more physical output (number of shirts, liters of beer), and what we call revenue total factor productivity (TFP-R), i.e., productivity calculated using revenue (or value-added) as a measure of output and so the capacity to turn inputs into more revenue. This in turn allows us to measure how changes in TFP-Q, demand and markups ultimately affected revenue TFP, as well as labour productivity, over the Great Recession. Our findings suggest that the poor UK firms' productivity performance post-recession is due to both a weakening of demand and a decreasing TFP-Q pushing down sales, markups, revenue TFP and labour productivity.
    Keywords: Total factor productivity (TFP), revenue TFP, prices, demand, great recession, United Kingdom
    JEL: D24 L11 E01 O47 O52
    Date: 2020–12
  2. By: Beat Hintermann; Maja Žarković; Corrado Di Maria; Ulrich J. Wagner
    Abstract: We investigate productivity and cost pass-through of German manufacturing firms using administrative data from 2001 to 2014. Our framework allows for the estimation of quantity-based production functions for multi-product firms while controlling for unobserved productivity shocks and unobserved input quality. Using our parameter estimates, we can compute total factor productivity, markups and marginal costs. We find no effect of the EU ETS on firm productivity or profits for the whole sector, and a positive effect for some industries. Firms pass on shocks to materials costs completely, or even more than completely, whereas pass-through of energy costs is around 35-60%. Although pass-through of energy costs is incomplete, it nevertheless allowed firms to recover more than their total carbon costs due to generous free allocation of allowances. Our results add to the recent literature concerning the causal effects of climate policy on firms and are relevant for policy makers when defining the level of free allowance allocation to industry.
    Keywords: productivity, production function, cost pass-through, EU ETS, climate policy
    JEL: D24 H23 Q52 Q54
    Date: 2020–12
  3. By: Arnaud Abad (BETA - Bureau d'Économie Théorique et Appliquée - UL - Université de Lorraine - UNISTRA - Université de Strasbourg - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement)
    Abstract: This paper introduces a general framework to analyse green efficiency and environmental productivity. Innovative environmental efficiency measures are introduced to define green productivity indices. Equivalence conditions for the additive and multiplicative green efficiency and productivity measures are displayed. In addition, the core components of environmental productivity change are defined. New implementation process of environmental efficiency and productivity assessment on convex and non convex pollution-generating technologies is proposed.
    Keywords: Data Envelopment Analysis,Environmental Efficiency Indices,Environmental Productivity Indicators,Non Convexity,Pollution-generating Technology
    Date: 2020–11–30
  4. By: Nikita I. Lychakov (National Research University Higher School of Economics); Dmitrii L. Saprykin (Institute for the History of Science and Technology, Russian Academy of Sciences); Nadia Vanteeva (University of Ontario Institute of Technology)
    Abstract: Using data from official manufacturing censuses, we compare labour productivity in Great Britain and the Russian Empire around 1908. We find that Russia’s labour productivity was at 81.9 percent of the U.K. level. Russia’s productivity was on a par with France’s and significantly superior to Italy’s. We also find that the majority of Russian industries underperformed British ones. However, the industries that had been established or modernised during the state-induced industrialisation policies of the 1890s, such as the Southern metallurgy, performed on a par with their British counterparts. Russia’s alcohol, tobacco, and petrochemical sectors outperformed their British equivalents. Our findings suggest a revision of the view that, at the turn of the 20th century, Russian manufacturing was economically underdeveloped.
    Keywords: labour productivity, Great Britain, Imperial Russia
    JEL: D24 L60 N63
    Date: 2020
  5. By: Sebastian Doerr
    Abstract: I establish that US public firms holding real estate have persistently lower levels of productivity than non-holders. Rising real estate values relax collateral constraints for companies that own real estate and allow them to expand production. Consequently, an increase in house prices reallocates capital and labor towards inefficient firms, with negative consequences for aggregate industry productivity. Industries with a stronger relative increase in real estate values see a significant decline in total factor productivity, and the within-industry covariance between firm size and productivity declines. My results suggest a novel channel through which real estate booms affect productivity and have implications for monetary policy.
    Keywords: housing boom, collateral, misallocation, productivity, low interest rates
    JEL: D22 D24 O16 O47 R3
    Date: 2020–11
  6. By: Sofia Henriques (Lund University); Eoin McLaughlin (University College Cork); Paul Sharp (University of Southern Denmark); Xanthi Tsoukli (University of Southern Denmark); Christian Veddel (University of Southern Denmark)
    Abstract: The rapid spread of the Danish dairy cooperatives from the 1880s until the First World War is often portrayed as a uniform wave which swept the country. We investigate this using exceptionally detailed micro-level panel data taken from the Operational Statistics of Creameries, which were published from 1898 until after the Second World War. Our database comprises 1419 creameries over the period 1898- 1945 and no less than 131 variables. We document the data, and use a simple fixed effects setup to demonstrate considerable heterogeneity in the productivity of the individual creameries both over time and across space. We conclude by suggesting reasons for this, including scale of production, accessibility of fuel, religious institutions, and more.
    Keywords: Creameries, Denmark, productivity
    JEL: N53 N54 Q13
    Date: 2020–12
  7. By: Tommaso Orlando (Bank of Italy); Giacomo Rodano (Bank of Italy)
    Abstract: In a context characterized by upcoming regulatory changes and deeply affected by the COVID-19 epidemic, this paper examines the diffusion of firm undercapitalization (i.e., the firm displaying a level of equity below the legal limit) among Italian corporations. In a proposal by the National Board of Accountants, business crisis is substantially identified with undercapitalization. Indeed, our analyses show that the onset of undercapitalization often anticipates business termination: around 60 percent of involved firms go out of business within 3 years. In 2010-18, on average around 8.5 percent of Italian companies were undercapitalized. The impact of the COVID-19 epidemic may be substantial: our predictions indicate that the share of undercapitalized firms at the end of 2020 may exceed 12 percent. This estimate incorporates the powerful mitigating effects of several interventions enacted by the Italian government between March and August 2020 to support firms damaged by the pandemic. The increase in undercapitalization may reverberate onto the functioning of the new ‘early warning’ system, which will become operational in September 2021: our predictions suggest that the number of firms that could be involved in early warning procedures may be almost twice as large as that foreseeable on the basis of accounting data from 2018.
    Keywords: firm undercapitalization, equity deficit, early warning, impact of COVID-19 on Italian corporations
    JEL: G32 G33 K29
    Date: 2020–12
  8. By: Cabral, René; López Cabrera, Jesús Antonio; Padilla Pérez, Ramón
    Abstract: This paper examines absolute manufacturing labour productivity convergence across Mexican states and municipalities between 1993 and 2018, using census data and employing spatial econometric techniques. It applies a novel approach (spatial econometrics and disaggregation at the municipal level) to show that there is absolute convergence in manufacturing productivity at both the state and municipal levels. The results show that there are significant productivity spillovers among states and municipalities; that is, high-level productivity states or municipalities have positive impacts on the productivity of neighbouring states or municipalities. The empirical evidence also shows that, on average, it takes a municipality 26.5 years to reduce 50% of the initial productivity gap, while for a state it takes 99.4 years.
    Date: 2020–12–11
  9. By: Tommaso Agasisti (National Research University Higher School of Economics); Aleksei Egorov (National Research University Higher School of Economics); Pavel Serebrennikov (National Research University Higher School of Economics)
    Abstract: This paper explores the black box behind efficiency measurements in higher education and defines the determinants of university efficiency. Particularly, it investigates how the efficiency of universities is affected by the characteristics of the territory in which they operate. We propose an analysis that combines two perspectives: 1) the resource dependence theory, suggesting that the location of university can determine the amount of resources available to it; 2) institutional isomorphism, according to which the characteristics of other higher education institutions located in the same area may shape the university production function and the efficiency of its operations. In order to test this framework we use the data on Russian universities and non-parametric conditional order-m efficiency estimator with two categories of exogenous variables. The first group includes the social, economic and cultural characteristics of the region where the university is located. The second set includes the characteristics of other higher educationinstitutions located in the same region. Our findings highlight that the managerial efficiency of universities is strongly associated with the characteristics of the environment in which they operate.
    Keywords: Universities, conditional eciency, order-m, DEA, exogenous variables.
    JEL: C44 I23
    Date: 2020
  10. By: Breitenbach, Marthinus C; Ngobeni, Victor; Aye, Goodness C
    Abstract: In this paper, we use a novel DEA approach, developed by You and Yan (2011), which accounts for both desirable outputs (recovered cases) and undesirable outputs (infections and deaths), to analyse the technical efficiency of the health systems of 36 most infected countries during the first 11 months since the COVID-19 outbreak. The average technical efficiency scores across the 3 Models is 52%. Specifically, 6 of the 36 (17%) countries in our sample largely used tests, doctors and health spending efficiently in managing the COVID-19 case-mortality and prevalence rates. The remaining 30 DMUs used their available resources inefficiently. Developing countries performed better than developed nations who were inefficient. Therefore, most countries literally “threw” resources at fighting the pandemic, thereby probably raising inefficiency through wasted resource use. The study also showed that developed countries could also draw lessons from developing countries in the management of pandemics. The latter countries mostly face pandemics on a daily basis, therefore, have developed strategies to manage them.
    Keywords: Pandemic; COVID-19; Death rates; Infection rates; Recoveries; Data Envelopment Analysis, Healthcare systems efficiency; Technical Efficiency; Undesirable outputs
    JEL: C67 D22 H32
    Date: 2020–12–10
  11. By: Steffen Elstner; Christian Grimme; Valentin Kecht; Robert Lehmann
    Abstract: We study whether technology gains in sectors related to Information and Communications Technology (ICT) increase productivity in the rest of the economy. To separate exogenous gains in ICT from other technological progress, we use the relative price of ICT goods and services in a structural VAR with medium-run restrictions. Using local projections to estimate the effect of ICT-related technology gains on sectoral technology (TFP), we find two sets of results. First, since the mid-2000s there have been positive and persistent technology spillovers to sectors intensively using ICT. Second, neglecting leasing activity leads to an overestimation of the TFP response for all sectors except the leasing sector, where it is strongly underestimated.
    Keywords: digitization, information and communications technology, technology shocks, local projections, structural VARs, medium-run restrictions, growth accounting
    JEL: C32 D24 E22 E24 O33 O47 O52
    Date: 2020
  12. By: Elisabetta Raguseo (Polito - Politecnico di Torino [Torino]); Claudio Vitari (AMU - Aix Marseille Université); Federico Pigni (GEM - Grenoble Ecole de Management)
    Abstract: Big data has gained momentum as an Information Technology that is capable of supporting organizational efforts to generate new and better business value. We here contribute to the emerging literature on big data analytic (BDA) solutions by investigating the moderating roles of firm size and industry concentration in the relationship between BDA solutions and firm profitability. Using a unique panel data set that covers 13 years, from 2004 to 2016, which contains information about 176 firms, we provide robust econometric empirical evidence of the negative moderating effects of industry concentration and the positive moderating effects of firm size on the relationship between the use of BDA solutions and firm profitability. Our findings provide strong empirical evidence on the business value of BDA as well as the essential role played by contextual conditions that managers should consider.
    Keywords: IT business value,big data analytics,firm profitability,econometric analysis,industry concentration,firm size
    Date: 2020–11
  13. By: , AISDL
    Abstract: This paper examines the impact of innovation on the performance of manufacturing enterprises in Vietnam. Innovation is measured by product innovation (3 observed variables), technology innovation (8 observed variables), and organization innovation (6 observed variables) while firm performance is measured by revenue and profit. The OLS regression model was used with data collected from 806 enterprises in four industrial sectors. The results show that innovation has a positive effect on firm performance. From the results, some implications are proposed to improve the performance of manufacturing enterprises in Vietnam.
    Date: 2020–10–19
  14. By: Francis OSEI-TUTU (LaRGE Research Center, Université de Strasbourg); Laurent WEILL (LaRGE Research Center, Université de Strasbourg)
    Abstract: This paper examines the impact of bank efficiency on access to credit. We test the hypothesis that higher bank efficiency, meaning better ability of banks to operate at lower costs, favors access to credit for firms. To this end, we perform a cross-country analysis with firm-level data on access to credit and bank-level data to compute bank efficiency, using a sample of about 54,000 firms from 76 countries. We find that greater bank efficiency improves access to credit for firms. The beneficial impact of bank efficiency to alleviate credit constraints takes place through the demand channel by reducing borrower discouragement to apply for a loan. Whereas the positive impact of bank efficiency on credit access is observed for firms of all sizes, the effect tends to be more pronounced in countries with better economic and institutional framework. Our results therefore support policies favoring bank efficiency to enhance access to credit.
    Keywords: bank efficiency, access to credit, borrower discouragement.
    JEL: G21 O16
    Date: 2020
  15. By: Marie Boltz (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, BETA - Bureau d'Économie Théorique et Appliquée - UL - Université de Lorraine - UNISTRA - Université de Strasbourg - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement); Bart Cockx (UGENT - Ghent University [Belgium], Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) Bonn - Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) Bonn, CESifo - Center for Economic Studies and Ifo for Economic Research - CESifo Group Munich, UCL IRES - Institut de recherches économiques et sociales - UCL - Université Catholique de Louvain, ROA - Real Instituto y Observatorio de la Armada); Ana Diaz (Pontificia Universidad Javeriana); Luz Salas (Pontificia Universidad Javeriana)
    Abstract: How Does Working-Time Flexibility Affect Worker's Productivity in a Routine Job? Evidence from a Field Experiment Abstract: We conducted an experiment in which we hired workers under different types of contracts to evaluate how flexible working time affects on-the-job productivity in a routine job. Our approach breaks down the global impact on productivity into sorting and behavioral effects. We find that all forms of working-time flexibility reduce the length of workers' breaks. For part-time work, these positive effects are globally counterbalanced. Yet arrangements that allow workers to decide when to start and stop working increase global productivity by as much as 50 percent, 40 percent of which is induced by sorting.
    Abstract: Nous avons mené une expérience dans laquelle nous avons offert différents types de contrats à des candidats pour évaluer comment la flexibilité dans le temps de travail affecte la productivité au travail dans un poste avec des tâches routinières. Notre approche décompose l'impact global sur la productivité en l'effet de sélection ex ante et l'effet comportemental ex post durant le contrat. Nous constatons que toutes les formes de flexibilité du temps de travail réduit la durée des pauses prises par les employés. Pour le travail à temps partiel, ces effets positifs sont globalement contrebalancés. Par contre, le contrat qui permet aux employés de décider quand commencer et arrêter de travailler augmentent la productivité totale de près de 50%, dont 40% sont induits par un effet de sélection positive pour ce type de contrat.
    Keywords: flexible work arrangements,part-time work,productivity,labor market flexibility,work-life balance,horaires de travail flexibles,travail à temps partiel,productivité,flexibilité du marché du travail,équilibre entre vie professionnelle et vie privée
    Date: 2020–10
  16. By: Gambonini, Alexandra
    Keywords: Farm Management, Livestock Production/Industries
    Date: 2020–12
  17. By: Hoa-Thi-Minh Nguyen; Huong Do; Tom Kompas
    Abstract: Increasing productivity in agriculture is often deemed necessary to enhance rural in come and ultimately narrow the urban-rural disparity in transitional economies. However, the objectives of social equity and economic e?ciency can contradict each other, especially in the context of ?erce competition for resources between agriculture and non-agricultural sectors and given the inherently redundant and unskilled aging rural population that of ten occurs during the economic transition to a market economy. We investigate the case of Vietnam during its high economic growth period (2000-2016), over which the country introduced policies to increase e?ciency in rice production and income for farmers. Con trary to expectations, we ?nd a steadily decreasing trend in the terms of trade for rice, indicating regression in farm income. At the same time, the Malmquist productivity in dex has been falling in most regions due to a decline in technical change, along with little improvement in technical e?ciency. We further examine the causes of ine?ciency using data from two household surveys in 2004 and 2014 (with plot-level information) along with semi-structured interviews with farmers in 2016-2017. The high ratio of aging farm workers who are unable to ?nd alternative employment during the transition emerges as an essential impediment to rice productivity, in addition to previously documented land use related issues. This demographic feature, along with government equity-targeting measures, hinders the farm amalgamation progress, further limiting e?orts to enhance productivity. Thus, the goals of economic e?ciency and social equity appear contradictory features of Vietnam’s rice policies, posing a signi?cant development challenge for the country’s current and likely future development.
    Keywords: greying agriculture, productivity, rice, Vietnam, Data Envelopment
    JEL: O12 O13 Q12 Q15
    Date: 2020
  18. By: W. Andersson, Fredrik (Statistics Sweden); Lodefalk, Magnus (Örebro University School of Business)
    Abstract: Business angels dominate early-stage investment in firms, but research on their investment effects is scarce and is limited by sample selection. Therefore, we propose an algorithm for identifying business angel investments from total population data. We apply the algorithm to study business angels’ effects on firm performance, using detailed and longitudinal total population data for individuals and firms in Sweden. Employing these data and a quasi-experimental estimator, we find that business angels invest in firms that already perform above par. There is also a positive effect on subsequent growth compared with control firms. Firms with business angel investments perform better in terms of sales growth, employment growth and the likelihood of becoming a high-growth firm. However, contrary to previous research, we cannot find any impact on firm survival. Overall, our results underline the need to address sample selection issues both in identifying business angels and in evaluating their effects on firm performance.
    Keywords: business angels; firm performance; sample selection; population data
    JEL: C23 G24 G32 L25
    Date: 2020–12–22
  19. By: Hui Sin Teo; Dao Lan Huong
    Keywords: Health, Nutrition and Population - Disease Control & Prevention Health, Nutrition and Population - Health Service Management and Delivery Health, Nutrition and Population - Health Systems Development & Reform Industry - Health Care Services Industry
    Date: 2020–04
  20. By: Kersting, Götz (Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität); Schefold, Bertram (Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität)
    Abstract: Samuelson assumed a linear wage curve for each of a continuum of techniques such that their envelope was a monotonically falling wage curve for the economy, from which an aggregate production function fulfilling the marginal productivity conditions could be derived. But the capital intensities of the techniques chosen at each rate of profit are not necessarily lower at higher rates of profit, if the wage curves are not linear, a possibility exemplified by reswitching. This critique of the capital controversy does not rule out Samuelson’s construction as an approximation, since the paradoxes have been shown to be rare. Instead, a possibility is likely that has so far not been noticed: the envelope of the wage curves will in the relevant range of the rate of profit be dominated by a small number of efficient techniques of approximately equal capital intensity, leaving little room for substitution. A new mathematical theorem demonstrates that the expected number of techniques that appear on the envelope is given by (2/3) ln s.
    Keywords: Capital theory; production function; substitution; reswitching
    JEL: B24 C62 C67 D57
    Date: 2020–12–21
  21. By: Peter Warr; Waleerat Suphannachart
    Abstract: Raising agricultural productivity in developing countries is often said to reduce poverty, though the empirical evidence is more nuanced. Productivity growth generates additional income and must benefit someone, though not necessarily the poor. It is conceivable that most, or even all of the benefits go to others. Using region-level data from Thailand, we study the relationship between agricultural productivity growth and rural poverty incidence. Our dependent variable is the annual rate of change in rural poverty incidence at the regional level between the years for which poverty data are available. Agricultural productivity is measured as the annual rate of change in regional agricultural productivity, covering the same time intervals as the poverty observations, but lagged one calendar year. Other control variables include regional nonagricultural incomes and the real price of food. The estimated coefficient on the change in agricultural productivity is negative and highly significant, implying that agricultural productivity growth does reduce rural poverty, holding other variables constant. Nevertheless, the poverty-reducing contribution of recent productivity growth is small. The poverty-reducing effects of long-term drivers of agricultural productivity growth are also studied using simulations based on the estimated model.
    Keywords: Agricultural productivity, Poverty incidence, Thailand
    JEL: I32 O13 O15 Q01 Q18
    Date: 2020

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