nep-eff New Economics Papers
on Efficiency and Productivity
Issue of 2022‒09‒26
thirteen papers chosen by

  1. Productivity growth effects of structural reforms: Evidence from developing countries By Kwamivi Gomado
  2. Benchmarking New Zealand's frontier firms By Guanyu Zheng; Hoang Minh Duy; Gail Pacheco
  3. Farm Labor, Human Capital, and Agricultural Productivity in the United States By Wang, Sun Ling; Hoppe, Robert A.; Hertz, Thomas; Xu, Shicong
  4. Sources, Trends, and Drivers of U.S. Dairy Productivity and Efficiency By Njuki, Eric
  5. Migration and firm-level productivity By Richard Fabling; David C Maré; Philip Stevens
  6. Frontier firms: Four industry case studies By Geoff Lewis; Sally Garden; Hamed Shafiee; Geoff Simmons; Jo Smith
  7. Extending the Zero-Sum Gains Data Envelopment Analysis Model By Thanasis Bouzidis; Giannis Karagiannis
  8. Personality traits, remote work and productivity By Gavoille, Nicolas; Hazans, Mihails
  9. Making a virtue out of necessity: the effect of negative interest rates on bank cost efficiency By Avignone, Giuseppe; Girardone, Claudia; Pancaro, Cosimo; Pancotto, Livia; Reghezza, Alessio
  10. Projecting the fuel efficiency of conventional vehicles: The role of regulations, gasoline taxes and autonomous technical change By Ioannis Tikoudis; Rose Mba Mebiame; Walid Oueslati
  11. Productivity and Wages of Firms Using COVID-19-related Support Policies By MORIKAWA Masayuki
  12. Rebound effects in residential heating: How much does an extra degree matter? By Cécile Hediger
  13. The impact of the COVID-19 shock on euro area potential output: a sectoral approach By Bandera, Nicolò; Bodnár, Katalin; Le Roux, Julien; Szörfi, Béla

  1. By: Kwamivi Gomado
    Abstract: Which structural reforms affect labour productivity growth in developing countries? This paper answers this question by combining the local projections method and the inverse probability weighted regression adjustment (LP-IPWRA) method. We find that financial reforms, trade reforms, and product market reforms boost labour productivity growth. By documenting the main channels, our results reveal that the reforms studied stimulate labour productivity growth by inducing dynamic efficiency, productive efficiency, and allocative efficiency.
    Keywords: Labour productivity, Reforms, Business cycles, Developing countries, Credit cycles
    Date: 2022
  2. By: Guanyu Zheng (Productivity Commission); Hoang Minh Duy (National University of Singapore); Gail Pacheco (Productivity Commission and AUT Work Research Institute)
    Abstract: New Zealand has experienced poor productivity performance over the last two decades. Factors often cited as reasons behind this are the small size of the domestic market and distance to international partners and markets. While the distance reason is one that is fairly insurmountable, there are a number of other small advanced economies that also face similar domestic market constraints. This study compares the relative performance of New Zealand's firms to those economies using novel cross-country microdata from CompNet. We present stylised facts for New Zealand relative to the economies of Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands and Sweden based on average productivity levels, as well as benchmarking laggard, median and frontier firms. This research also employs an analytical framework of technology diffusion to evaluate the extent of productivity convergence, and the impact of the productivity frontier on non-frontier firm performance. Additionally, both labour and capital resource allocation are compared between New Zealand and the other small advanced economies. Results show that New Zealand's firms have comparatively low productivity levels and that its frontier firms are not benefiting from the diffusion of best technologies outside the nation. Furthermore, there is evidence of labour misallocation in New Zealand based on less labour-productive firms having disproportionally larger employment shares than their more productive counterparts. Counter-factual analysis illustrates that improving both technology diffusion from abroad toward New Zealand's frontier firms, and labour allocation across firms within New Zealand will see sizable productivity gains in New Zealand.
    JEL: L25 O33 O47
    Date: 2021–02
  3. By: Wang, Sun Ling; Hoppe, Robert A.; Hertz, Thomas; Xu, Shicong
    Abstract: During the 20th century, U.S. agricultural employment fell in absolute numbers and as a share of total U.S. employment—the latter from 33 percent in 1910 to about 2 percent in 2017. According to USDA, Economic Research Service agricultural productivity data, total farm output almost tripled, and total labor use declined by nearly 80 percent in the last seven decades, implying that farm output per worker, a single factor productivity measure, grew. This report discusses the contribution of farm labor in U.S. agricultural growth and assesses the changing composition of the U.S. farm labor force with special attention to the changes in educational attainment among farm operators and other workers. The authors found that between 1948 and 2017, the decline in total labor hours worked accounted for -0.57 percentage points per year in annual output growth. These negative effects were partially offset by increasing labor quality, such as increased educational attainment. In the growth accounting frame-work, increased educational attainment accounts for about 8 percentage points of annual agricultural output growth. The average annual rates of labor productivity growth and total factor productivity growth would have been overstated by 13 percent and 8 percent, respectively, if labor quality changes were not accounted for in the measurement.
    Keywords: Agribusiness, Agricultural Finance, Community/Rural/Urban Development, Farm Management, Industrial Organization, Labor and Human Capital, Production Economics, Research Methods/ Statistical Methods
    Date: 2022–02–15
  4. By: Njuki, Eric
    Abstract: The U.S. dairy sector has undergone substantial structural change characterized by a shift to larger and fewer dairy operations, concentrated in relatively few States. This report measures and analyzes the dairy sector’s productivity growth and efficiency and identifies proximate drivers and sources of this growth in the face of the structural change observed from 2000 to 2020. Results indicate that productivity growth in the dairy sector was widespread, albeit with considerable variations by herd-size class, region, and production type. Western and Southwestern States—Idaho, New Mexico, Arizona, and California—experienced the fastest productivity growth with annual rates between 3.52 and 4.40 percent. Meanwhile, Southern States—Kentucky, Georgia, Missouri, and Tennessee—were the slowest growing with annual rates ranging between 0.89 and 1.74 percent. Furthermore, productivity across the largest herd-size class with more than 1,000 milk cows grew at an annual rate of 2.99 percent while the smallest herd-size class with fewer than 100 milk cows grew at an annual rate of 0.63 percent. Finally, organic dairy operations grew at a much slower pace of 0.66 percent compared with their conventional counterparts that grew at an annual rate of 2.51 percent.
    Keywords: Agribusiness, Farm Management, Industrial Organization, Livestock Production/Industries, Marketing, Public Economics
    Date: 2022–02–17
  5. By: Richard Fabling (Productivity Commission); David C Maré (Motu Research); Philip Stevens (Productivity Commission)
    Abstract: We use linked employer-employee microdata for New Zealand to examine the relationship between firm-level productivity, wages and workforce composition. Jointly estimating production functions and firm-level wage bill equations, we compare migrant workers with NZ-born workers, through the lens of a derived "productivity-wage gap" that captures the difference in relative contribution to output and the wage bill. Whether we look at all industries using a common production function, or separately estimate results for the five largest sectors, we find that skilled and long-term migrants make contributions to output that exceed moderately-skilled NZ-born workers, with that higher contribution likely being due to a mix of skill differences and/or effort which is largely reflected in higher wages. Conversely, migrants that are not on skilled visas are associated with lower output and lower wages than moderately-skilled NZ-born, also consistent with a skills/effort narrative. The share of employment for long-term migrants has grown over time (from 2005 to 2019) and we show that their relative contribution to output appears to be increasing over the same period. Finally, we present tentative evidence that high-skilled NZ-born workers make a stronger contribution to output when they work in firms with higher migrant shares, which is suggestive of complementarities between the two groups or, at least, positive mutual sorting of these groups into higher productivity firms.
    Keywords: Migrant labour, firm productivity, worker sorting, wage determinants, quality-adjusted labour input
    JEL: D24 J15 J31
    Date: 2022–07
  6. By: Geoff Lewis (Productivity Commission); Sally Garden (Productivity Commission); Hamed Shafiee (Productivity Commission); Geoff Simmons (Productivity Commission); Jo Smith (Productivity Commission)
    Abstract: This paper summarises the findings from case studies of four significant New Zealand industries: Dairy (both farming and processing), Health technology, Horticulture (with a focus on kiwifruit and wine) and Software products and services. The work is an important part of the evidence base for the Commission's inquiry "New Zealand firms: Reaching for the frontier". The four case studies have identified various opportunities for improving productivity, some industry-specific and some generic.
    Date: 2021–04
  7. By: Thanasis Bouzidis (Department of Economics, University of Macedonia); Giannis Karagiannis (Department of Economics, University of Macedonia)
    Abstract: In this paper, we adapt the ZSG-DEA model to the case of a reverse output, whose larger (smaller) values reflect lower (higher) achievements. Then, we introduce the zero-sum reverse output redistribution strategies, state the resulting Target’s Assessment Theorem for both the proportional and the equal expansion strategy, and confirm that the Benchmarks’ Contribution Equality Theorem is also applicable to these cases. We also apply the ZSG-DEA model with a forward and a reverse output to estimate respectively teams’ offensive and defensive efficiency in Greek premier soccer league.
    Keywords: Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA); Zero-Sum Gains (ZSG); Output Interdependency; Forward/Reverse Fixed-Sum Output; Offensive/Defensive Efficiency; Soccer Teams
    JEL: Z2 C14 C61 L83
    Date: 2022–08
  8. By: Gavoille, Nicolas; Hazans, Mihails
    Abstract: The future of teleworking ultimately depends on its impact on workers' productivity and wellbeing, yet the effect of remote working on productivity is not well understood. This paper investigates the link between personality traits and workers' productivity when working from home. We exploit a survey providing measures of the "Big Five" personality traits for more than 1700 recent teleworkers. We document strong links between personality, productivity, and willingness to work from home post-pandemic. Ceteris paribus, Conscientiousness and Openness to Experience are positively associated with a higher productivity from home, especially for females. On the other hand, the link between Extraversion and preference for teleworking is negative. These results suggest that a one-size-fits-all policy is unlikely to maximize neither firms' productivity nor workers' satisfaction.
    Keywords: Personality traits,teleworking,work from home,productivity,COVID
    JEL: J24 J32 J81
    Date: 2022
  9. By: Avignone, Giuseppe; Girardone, Claudia; Pancaro, Cosimo; Pancotto, Livia; Reghezza, Alessio
    Abstract: Do negative interest rates affect banks’ cost efficiency? We exploit the unprecedented introduction of negative policy interest rates in the euro area to investigate whether banks make a virtue out of necessity in reacting to negative interest rates by adjusting their cost efficiency. We find that banks most affected by negative interest rates responded by enhancing their cost efficiency. We also show that improvements in cost efficiency are more pronounced for banks that are larger, less profitable, with lower asset quality and that operate in more competitive banking sectors. In addition, we document that enhancements in cost efficiency are statistically significant only when breaching the zero lower bound (ZLB), indicating that the pass-through of interest rates to cost efficiency is not effective when policy rates are positive. These findings hold important policy implications as they provide evidence on a beneficial second-order effect of negative interest rates on bank efficiency. JEL Classification: E43, E44, E52, G21, F34
    Keywords: bank cost efficiency, difference-in-differences, NIRP, Stochastic frontier approach
    Date: 2022–09
  10. By: Ioannis Tikoudis (OECD); Rose Mba Mebiame (OECD); Walid Oueslati (OECD)
    Abstract: The fuel efficiency of conventional private vehicles is a key input in the design of several economic and environmental policies. Reliable projections of the fuel efficiency variable can improve estimates on the future emission savings from policies promoting vehicle replacement, and on future revenues from fuel taxes. This paper examines the evolution of fuel efficiency using data on cars entering the US market from 1984 to 2020. It uses a series of new indexes for the gasoline cost in OECD countries and the stringency of fuel economy regulations. The paper shows that the effect of fuel prices and taxes is significant and robust. Doubling the user cost of gasoline with a stringent carbon tax will cause an irreversible increase in fuel efficiency by 6-11%. Increasing the stringency of the US CAFE standards by 10% raises average fuel efficiency by 2-3%. The impact of cross-market regulations is ambiguous.
    Keywords: CAFE standards, conventional cars, EU regulations, fuel economy, fuel efficiency, fuel taxes, gasoline prices
    JEL: H23 Q48 Q55 R48 O31
    Date: 2022–09–15
  11. By: MORIKAWA Masayuki
    Abstract: This study uses original firm survey data on the use of support policies related to the COVID-19 pandemic linked with government statistics on Japanese firms and documents supported firms’ productivity and wages before the COVID-19 pandemic. The results indicate that the firms that used support policies had lower productivity and wages long before the pandemic as compared to the firms that did not. Firms that used multiple policy measures and those that repeatedly used support policies tended to show additionally lower performance. The results suggest that firm support policies may have the side effect of preserving inherently inefficient firms and that such a problem may increase in severity as support policies become prolonged.
    Date: 2022–08
  12. By: Cécile Hediger
    Abstract: Households reactions to efficiency gains in heating, known as rebound effects, are investigated in this article. First, an increase in temperature for households living in more efficient dwellings is studied (direct rebound). This increased temperature is then converted into energy following the heating degree days method. Second, the energy embodied in the re-spending of efficiency gains savings on other goods and services than heating is assessed (indirect rebound). Overall, about 20% of the potential energy savings are taken back by those households adjustments, with a direct rebound estimated between 4% and 7%, and an indirect rebound of 15%. As only a partial direct rebound was considered, these results represent a lower limit. In addition, we find that low income households increase more their heating usage than affluent households when efficiency improves, indicating that buildings retrofits have the potential to improve the living conditions of the poorest households.
    Keywords: Rebound effects; Energy efficiency; Energy demand; Embodied energy; Micro data
    JEL: D12 D90 Q41 Q47 R22
    Date: 2022–09
  13. By: Bandera, Nicolò; Bodnár, Katalin; Le Roux, Julien; Szörfi, Béla
    Abstract: The COVID-19 crisis has affected economic sectors very heterogeneously, with possible risks for permanent losses in some sectors. This paper presents a sectoral-level, bottom-up method to estimate euro area potential output in order to assess the impact of the crisis on it. The estimates are based on a supply-demand shock decomposition and are meant to quantitatively support the estimation of scarring effects stemming from the pandemic. The results show that sectors of “trade, transport and accommodation”, “other services” and “industry” may suffer a loss in trend output of around 1.4-1.6% by 2025. Aggregate potential output in 2025 might be about 0.8% lower than it would have been without the crisis, and importantly, without support from the Next Generation EU (NGEU), signalling somewhat larger losses than embedded in the Autumn 2021 forecast of the European Commission (which takes the NGEU into account). JEL Classification: C32, D24, E32, E37
    Keywords: COVID-19, forecasting, potential output, production function, sectoral approach
    Date: 2022–09

General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.