nep-eff New Economics Papers
on Efficiency and Productivity
Issue of 2024‒06‒24
eight papers chosen by

  1. Efficiency and productivity gains of robotic surgery: The case of the English National Health Service By Maynou, Laia; McGuire, Alistair; Serra-Sastre, Victoria
  2. An Analysis of Digitalization and Firm Performance in Finland’s Private Service Industries By Kuosmanen, Natalia; Pajarinen, Mika; Heshmati, Almas
  3. Symposium on Misallocation and Structural Transformation: Introduction By Tasso Adamopoulos; Diego Restuccia
  4. CEO turnover risk and firm environmental performance By Giulio Cornelli; Magdalena Erdem; Egon Zakrajsek
  5. US gasoline response to vehicle fuel efficiency: A contribution to the direct rebound effect By Huntington, Hillard
  6. Modernizing Smallholder Agriculture and Achieving Food Security: An Exploration in Machinery Services and Labor Reallocation in China By Zou, Baoling; Mishra, Ashok K.
  7. Nonparametric analysis of financial portfolio performance By Laurens Cherchye; Bram De Rock; Dieter Saelens
  8. The Role of Technological Change in the Evolution of the Employment to Output Elasticity By Egana-delSol, Pablo; Micco, Alejandro

  1. By: Maynou, Laia; McGuire, Alistair; Serra-Sastre, Victoria
    Abstract: This paper examines the effect of new medical technology (robotic surgery) on efficiency gains and productivity changes for surgical treatment in patients with prostate cancer from the perspective of a public health sector organization. In particular, we consider three interrelated surgical technologies within the English National Health System: robotic, laparoscopic and open radical prostatectomy. Robotic and laparoscopic techniques are minimally invasive procedures with similar clinical benefits. While the clinical benefits in adopting robotic surgery over laparoscopic intervention are unproven, it requires a high initial investment cost and carries high on-going maintenance costs. Using data from Hospital Episode Statistics for the period 2000–2018, we observe growing volumes of prostatectomies over time, mostly driven by an increase in robotic-assisted surgeries, and further analyze whether hospital providers that adopted a robot see improved measures of throughput. We then quantify changes in total factor and labor productivity arising from the use of this technology. We examine the impact of robotic adoption on efficiency gains employing a staggered difference-in-difference estimator and find evidence of a 50% reduction in length of stay (LoS), 49% decrease in post-LoS and 44% and 46% decrease in postoperative visits after 1 year and 2 years, respectively. Productivity analysis shows the growth in radical prostatectomy volume is sustained with a relatively stable number of urology surgeons. The robotic technique increases total production at the hospital level between 21% and 26%, coupled with a 29% improvement in labor productivity. These benefits lend some, but not overwhelming support for the large-scale hospital investments in such costly technology.
    Keywords: efficiency gains; labor productivity; robotic surgery; staggered difference-in-differences; total factor productivity
    JEL: J1
    Date: 2024–05–11
  2. By: Kuosmanen, Natalia; Pajarinen, Mika; Heshmati, Almas
    Abstract: Abstract The service sector is undergoing rapid changes attributed to digitalization. This study examines the relationship between digitalization and the performance of the Finnish private service firms from 2015 to 2021 using linked employer-employee data, financial data and an IT usage survey. Our descriptive and regression analyses reveal significant variability in the level and areas of digital adoption across service industries. Information and communication, and professional activities are found highly digitalized, while accommodation and food service activities, and transportation and storage lag in digitalization intensity. Additionally, we find a strong positive correlation between firms’ digitalization and revenues, particularly for firms with higher digital intensity. This correlation persisted throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. We also observe a positive correlation between digitalization and productivity in the early years, but more recent data suggest a weakening of this association, possibly due to increased digital adoption among less productive firms during the pandemic. Finally, our analysis indicates that larger firms, or those with a larger market share or international activities, tend to have higher levels of digitalization. Thus, investment in digitalization is recommended to enhance service sectors performance.
    Keywords: Digitalization, Firm performance, Productivity, Private service industry, Finland
    JEL: L25 L80 L86 O14 O33
    Date: 2024–06–11
  3. By: Tasso Adamopoulos; Diego Restuccia
    Abstract: We present an introduction to the Symposium on Misallocation and Structural Transformation.
    Keywords: Productivity, misallocation, structural transformation, employment, human capital, business dynamism, firm size, migration.
    JEL: O4
    Date: 2024–05–31
  4. By: Giulio Cornelli; Magdalena Erdem; Egon Zakrajsek
    Abstract: We investigate the relationship between the probability of a CEO forced-turnover and firm performance on several environmental dimensions. Our findings suggest that a higher risk of being terminated for the CEO is correlated with a lower environmental ranking, particularly on environmental innovation activities, and more ESG controversies for the firm. The inclusion of ESG-pay clauses in executives' compensation packages only marginally offsets such deterioration. Looking at data on Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, we consistently find that a rise in the probability of being terminated corresponds to an increase in scope 2 and 3 emissions ("carbon leakeage"), whereas scope 1 emissions remain unchanged. Through an instrumental variable approach, we trace the deterioration of firms' ESG controversies- and environmental innovation scores to a strategical re-orientation towards short-terminism.
    Keywords: corporate finance, ESG, emissions, environmental innovation, short-terminism
    JEL: D22 G30 G34 O31 Q55
    Date: 2024–05
  5. By: Huntington, Hillard
    Abstract: This study measures the response of gasoline consumption to improved vehicle fuel efficiency (miles per gallon). Although an inverse relationship exists, the percentage decline is always less than the percentage efficiency improvement. As usually measured by past researchers, the long-run response in this study is approximately 80% of the efficiency improvement. The remaining 20% is the direct rebound effect and comports well with previous estimates. However, this rebound estimate escalates to 40-50% if horsepower or vehicle size are controlled. Even larger estimates (about 70%) are possible if carmakers change both fuel efficiency and horsepower when required to meet energy efficiency standards. Larger rebound effects are also possible when VFE improvements also reduce gasoline prices, but these price reductions may also improve welfare.
    Keywords: Gasoline; Energy efficiency; Technological change
    JEL: O33 Q41 Q48
    Date: 2024–05
  6. By: Zou, Baoling (Southwest University of Finance and Economics, Chengdu); Mishra, Ashok K. (Arizona State University)
    Abstract: Worldwide, most farms are small and family-operated. This study discusses the future of smallholder agriculture in China, where most farms are small, and farms' parcels are fragmented. The study puts forward a framework of vertical division of labor and specialized production in agriculture. We posit that hiring machinery services could be a pathway to connect smallholders with modern agriculture and achieve food security in China. Using household-level data from China, this study examines the impact of hiring machinery services on farm productivity, food security, and rural households' welfare. Findings show that mechanization services increased rural Chinese families' food security and agricultural productivity. Hiring machinery services improves smallholders' income by influencing the input efficiency of maize production. At the same time, increased mechanization implied greater participation in off-farm work. In other words, more family labor and time are allocated to off-farm work, which results in higher total income and increased consumption expenditures. Our findings highlight the importance of technology to improve smallholder agriculture and food security, not only in China but also in other South and Southeast Asian countries.
    Keywords: production efficiency, machinery services, household welfare, food security
    JEL: Q12 C36 J22
    Date: 2024–05
  7. By: Laurens Cherchye; Bram De Rock; Dieter Saelens
    Abstract: We propose a nonparametric method to assess financial portfolio performance that naturally integrates the well-known Sharpe ratio. The method produces an intuitive “efficiency” measure that quantifies the evaluated household’s portfolio performance relative to the observed performance of other (best performing) households. It allows us to account for cross-household variation in risk-free return rates and to mitigate the impact of outlier behavior. We use our method to analyze the financial portfolio performance of Belgian households, using data from the 2010, 2014 and 2017 waves of the Household Finance and Consumption Survey. We report significant crosssectional variation in portfolio efficiency. Highly educated, non-retired and wealthier households generally achieve higher levels of efficiency, as do households with a female head. We also report that households improve their performance over time, suggesting a learning-by-doing effect.
    Keywords: household finance, benchmarking, mean-variance portfolios, Sharpe ratio, nonparametric method
    Date: 2024–06
  8. By: Egana-delSol, Pablo (Universidad Adolfo Ibañez); Micco, Alejandro (University of Chile)
    Abstract: The employment to output elasticity has risen from 0.65 during the 1960s and 1970s to 1.25 in the last two decades. We study the role of recent technological change in the evolution of this elasticity along the business cycle. Using the Covid-19-induced shock and an instrumental variable approach as sources of identification, we find that recent technologies augment the employment to output elasticity. We find that employment in sectors characterized with occupations with a high risk of automation are the most affected and that this effect is larger in sectors that have undergone a technology-capital deepening process in the last decades.
    Keywords: technological change, automation, employment to output elasticity, labor markets
    JEL: O33 E32 J23
    Date: 2024–05

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