New Economics Papers
on Business, Economic and Financial History
Issue of 2009‒01‒10
five papers chosen by

  1. The Productivity Differential Between the Canadian and U.S. Manufacturing Sectors: A Perspective Drawn from the Early 20th Century By Baldwin, John R.; Green, Alan G.
  2. Rents have been rising, not falling, in the postwar period By Theodore Crone; Leonard I. Nakamura; Richard Voith
  3. Indian Railways in the Past Twenty Years Issues, Performance and Challenges By G. Raghuram
  4. Post-Soviet countries in global and regional institutional competition: The case of Kazakhstan By Libman, Alexander; Ushkalova, Daria
  5. Da Impresa Radicata nel Territorio a Rete Globale. La Ristrutturazione del Gruppo Benetton By Tattara, Giuseppe; Crestanello, Paolo

  1. By: Baldwin, John R.; Green, Alan G.
    Abstract: Many historical comparisons of international productivity use measures of labour productivity (output per worker). Differences in labour productivity can be caused by differences in technical efficiency or differences in capital intensity. Moving to measures of total factor productivity allows international comparisons to ascertain whether differences in labour productivity arise from differences in efficiency or differences in factors utilized in the production process. This paper examines differences in output per worker in the manufacturing sectors of Canada and the United States in 1929 and the extent to which it arises from efficiency differences. It makes corrections for differences in capital and materials intensity per worker in order to derive a measure of total factor efficiency of Canada relative to the United States, using detailed industry data. It finds that while output per worker in Canada was only about 75% of the United States productivity level, the total factor productivity measure of Canada was about the same as the United States level - that is, there was very little difference in technical efficiency in the two countries. Canada's lower output per worker was the result of the use of less capital and materials per worker than the United States.
    Keywords: Manufacturing, Economic accounts, Productivity accounts
    Date: 2008–12–23
  2. By: Theodore Crone; Leonard I. Nakamura; Richard Voith
    Abstract: Until the end of 1977, the U.S. consumer price index for rents tended to omit rent increases when units had a change of tenants or were vacant, biasing inflation estimates downward. Beginning in 1978, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) implemented a series of methodological changes that reduced this nonresponse bias, but substantial bias remained until 1985. The authors set up a model of nonresponse bias, parameterize it, and test it using a BLS microdata set for rents. From 1940 to 1985, the official BLS CPI-W price index for tenant rents rose 3.6 percent annually; the authors argue that it should have risen 5.0 percent annually. Rents in 1940 should be only half as much as their official relative price; this has important consequences for historical measures of rent-house-price ratios and for the growth of real consumption. (Revision forthcoming in Review of Economics and Statistics.)
    Date: 2008
  3. By: G. Raghuram
    Abstract: To understand the development process of Indian Railway’s over the past twenty years, the study covers issues and strategies related to financial and physical aspects of revenue generating freight and passenger traffic from 1987-2007. Study also covers the developments in the parcel, catering and advertising sector.
    Keywords: freight, depreciation, indian railways, developments, financial, physical, revenue, passenger traffic, advertising sector,
  4. By: Libman, Alexander; Ushkalova, Daria
    Abstract: The paper approaches the problem of differentiation of strategies implemented by individual countries in the institutional competition for foreign investments by looking at the experience of Kazakhstan. It basically focuses on the contradiction between political bias and political survival effects as driving forces for development and implementation of formal economic institutions. Kazakhstan demonstrates how the shift of relative importance of these two aspects significantly influenced the country’s position in competing for FDI. Moreover, the paper looks at the relative importance of individual levels of institutional competition in a globalizing economy.
    Keywords: Institutional competition; FDI policy; post-Soviet transition
    JEL: P26
    Date: 2009–01
  5. By: Tattara, Giuseppe; Crestanello, Paolo
    Abstract: This paper investigates the strategy changes of the Benetton Group who have been facing severe intense competition in the international fashion market since the mid nine-ties. New competitors, in particular the European brands Zara, Mango and H&M, have challenged the Benetton position in the Italian and European clothing market, pushing the Group from Ponzano towards adopting politics of cost reduction through globalisation of its suppliers. Benetton has always been considered a vertically integrated producer which controls (in different ways) the whole value chain from textile raw materials to consumer sales. Until 2000, Benetton produced its goods in its own factories and through a vast network of national sub-contractors mainly specialising in the sewing phase. Today, Benetton has drastically changed its strategy, almost completely abandoning Italy with a chain of value organised around a dual supply chain: fast productions are delegated to closer locations (Eastern Europe and Northern Africa) while locations further afield are commissioned for more standardised products and accessories (Asia). This article also discusses the impact these choices of productive de-localisation abroad have made on the Treviso apparel district, where Benetton's traditional subcontractors have been drastically curtailed. Benetton restructuring marks the transition to a new net-work of competences between agents.
    Keywords: Global value chains; Benetton; Apparel; Clothing; District
    JEL: F16 L67 L23 F14 L22
    Date: 2008–11–01

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