Does market power affect economic growth?


There is accumulating evidence that the market power of firms - as proxied by their profits or the markup they charge over marginal cost - has risen over the last 15 or 30 years. While some market power may be necessary to create incentives for innovation, it is possible that there is “too much” market power and that this is limiting growth. At the same time, market power affects how we measure economic growth, and so the effect of rising market power isn’t immediately obvious.

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  1. Adamopoulos, T. et al. (2017) Misallocation, Selection and Productivity: A Quantitative Analysis with Panel Data from China. Working Papers tecipa-574. University of Toronto, Department of Economics. Available at: Link.
    • Abstract

      We use household-level panel data from China and a quantitative framework to document the extent and consequences of factor misallocation in agriculture. We find that there are substantial frictions in both the land and capital markets linked to land institutions in rural China that disproportionately constrain the more productive farmers. These frictions reduce aggregate agricultural productivity in China by affecting two key margins: (1) the allocation of resources across farmers (misallocation) and (2) the allocation of workers across sectors, in particular the type of farmers who operate in agriculture (selection). We show that selection can substantially amplify the static misallocation effect of distortionary policies by affecting occupational choices that worsen the distribution of productive units in agriculture.

  2. Adamopoulos, T. and Restuccia, D. (2014) “The Size Distribution of Farms and International Productivity Differences,” American Economic Review, 104(6), pp. 1667–97. Available at: Link.
    • Abstract

      We study the determinants of di fferences in farm-size across countries and their impact on agricultural and aggregate productivity using a quantitative sectoral model featuring a distribution of farms. Measured aggregate factors (capital, land, economy-wide productivity) account for ? of the observed differences in farm size and productivity. Policies and institutions that misallocate resources across farms have the potential to account for the remaining diff erences. Exploiting within-country variation in crop-specifi c price distortions and their correlation with farm size, we construct a cross-country measure of farm-size distortions which together with aggregate factors accounts for ? of the cross-country diff erences in size and productivity.

  3. Alder, S. D. (2016) “In the Wrong Hands: Complementarities, Resource Allocation, and TFP,” American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, 8(1), pp. 199–241. Available at: Link.
    • Abstract

      I explore mismatch between firms and their managers as a source of variation in aggregate output and total factor productivity (TFP). The model is calibrated to match observations on the size distribution of US manufacturing firms, managerial compensation, and aggregate moments in the national accounts. Quantitatively, small deviations from assortative matching can have sizeable effects on output and TFP. "Cronyism," where managerial positions are allocated by status rather than talent, imposes a substantial burden on economic welfare. Moreover, the model can reconcile the seemingly contradictory evidence from numerous case studies with results from recent contributions to the assignment literature. (JEL D24, E23, L11, L60, M52, O40)

  4. Baqaee, D. R. and Farhi, E. (2017) Productivity and Misallocation in General Equilibrium. Working Paper 24007. National Bureau of Economic Research. doi: 10.3386/w24007.
    • Abstract

      We provide a general non-parametric formula for aggregating microeconomic shocks in general equilibrium economies with distortions such as taxes, markups, frictions to resource reallocation, and nominal rigidities. We show that the macroeconomic impact of a shock can be boiled down into two components: its “pure” technology effect; and its effect on allocative efficiency arising from the associated reallocation of resources, which can be measured via changes in factor income shares. We also derive a formula showing how these two components are determined by structural microeconomic parameters such as elasticities of substitution, returns to scale, factor mobility, and network linkages. Overall, our results generalize those of Solow (1957) and Hulten (1978) to economies with distortions. To demonstrate their empirical relevance, we pursue different applications, focusing on markup distortions. For example, we operationalize our non-parametric results and show that improvements in allocative efficiency account for about 50% of measured TFP growth over the period 1997-2015. We also implement our structural results and conclude that eliminating markups would raise TFP by about 40%, increasing the economywide cost of monopoly distortions by two orders of magnitude compared to the famous 0.1% estimates of Harberger (1954).

  5. Barrett, C. B., Sherlund, S. M. and Adesina, A. A. (2008) “Shadow wages, allocative inefficiency, and labor supply in smallholder agriculture,” Agricultural Economics, 38(1), pp. 21–34. Available at: Link.
    • Abstract

      This article introduces a method for estimating structural labor supply models in the presence of unobservable wages and deviations of households’ marginal revenue product of self-employed labor from their shadow wage. This method is therefore robust to a wide range of assumptions about labor allocation decisions in the presence of uncertainty, market frictions, locational preferences, etc. We illustrate the method using data from rice producers in Côte d’Ivoire. These data, like previous studies, reveal significant systematic differences between shadow wages and the marginal revenue product of family farm labor. We demonstrate how one can exploit systematic deviations, in the present case related to household characteristics such as the land/labor endowment ratio, to control for both unobservable wages and prospective allocative inefficiency in labor allocation in structural household labor supply estimation. Copyright 2008 International Association of Agricultural Economists.

  6. Bartelsman, E., Haltiwanger, J. and Scarpetta, S. (2013) “Cross-Country Differences in Productivity: The Role of Allocation and Selection,” American Economic Review, 103(1), pp. 305–34.
    • Abstract

      This paper investigates the effect of idiosyncratic (firm-level) policy distortions on aggregate outcomes. Exploiting harmonized firm‑level data for a number of countries, we show that there is substantial and systematic cross‑country variation in the within-industry covariance between size and productivity. We develop a model in which heterogeneous firms face adjustment frictions (overhead labor and quasi-fixed capital) and distortions. The model can be readily calibrated so that variations in the distribution of distortions allow matching the observed cross-country moments. We show that the differences in the distortions that account for the size-productivity covariance imply substantial differences in aggregate performance. (JEL D24, L25, O47)

  7. Basu, S. and Fernald, J. (2002) “Aggregate Productivity and Aggregate Technology,” European Economic Review, 46, pp. 963–991.
    • Abstract

      Aggregate productivity and aggregate technology are meaningful but distinct concepts. We show that a slightly-modified Solow productivity residual measures changes in economic welfare, even when productivity and technology differ because of distortions such as imperfect competition. We then present a general accounting framework that identifies several new non-technological gaps between productivity and technology, gaps reflecting imperfections and frictions in output and factor markets. Empirically, we find that these gaps are important, even though we abstract from variations in factor utilization and estimate only small average sectoral markups. Compared with productivity growth, our measured technology shocks are significantly less correlated with output, and are essentially uncorrelated with inputs. Our results imply that calibrating dynamic general equilibrium models as if Solow residuals were technology shocks confuses impulses and propagation mechanisms.

  8. Buera, F. J., Kaboski, J. P. and Shin, Y. (2011) “Finance and Development: A Tale of Two Sectors,” American Economic Review, 101(5), pp. 1964–2002.
    • Abstract

      We develop a quantitative framework to explain the relationship between aggregate/sector-level total factor productivity (TFP) and financial development across countries. Financial frictions distort the allocation of capital and entrepreneurial talent across production units, adversely affecting measured productivity. In our model, sectors with larger scales of operation (e.g., manufacturing) have more financing needs, and are hence disproportionately vulnerable to financial frictions. Our quantitative analysis shows that financial frictions account for a substantial part of the observed cross-country differences in output per worker, aggregate TFP, sector-level relative productivity, and capital-to-output ratios. (JEL E23, E44, O41, O47)

  9. Buera, F. J. and Shin, Y. (2013) “Financial Frictions and the Persistence of History: A Quantitative Exploration,” Journal of Political Economy, 121(2), pp. 221–272.
    • Abstract

      We quantitatively analyze the role of financial frictions and resource misallocation in explaining development dynamics. Our model economy with financial frictions converges to the new steady state slowly after a reform triggers efficient reallocation of resources; the transition speed is half that of the conventional neoclassical model. Furthermore, in the model economy, investment rates and total factor pro- ductivity are initially low and increase over time. We present data from the so-called miracle economies on the evolution of macro aggregates, factor reallocation, and establishment size distribution that support the aggregate and micro-level implications of our theory.

  10. Chari, A. V. (2011) “Identifying the Aggregate Productivity Effects of Entry and Size Restrictions: An Empirical Analysis of License Reform in India,” American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, 3, pp. 66–96.
    • Abstract

      Distortions in the allocation of resources between heterogeneous pro- ducers have the potential to generate large reductions in aggregate productivity, a point that has been stressed by recent studies. There is, however, little direct empirical evidence from actual policy experi- ments on the magnitude of these effects. This paper proposes a simple methodology that empirically identifies the separate effects of entry and size restrictions on aggregate productivity, and uses it to analyse the impact of a policy reform in India.

  11. De Loecker, J. (2011) “Recovering markups from production data,” International Journal of Industrial Organization, 29(3), pp. 350–355. Available at: Link.
    • Abstract

      In this paper, I discuss, what I call, the Production-Approach to recovering markups. In contrast to the most popular approach in empirical IO, which relies on demand estimation, this approach requires standard production data while allowing for various price-setting models and puts no restrictions on underlying consumer demand. Using production data together with standard cost minimization allows a researcher to obtain markups in a flexible way. After presenting a brief and selective overview of the literature I contrast the production approach to that of the more popular demand estimation approach. This discussion makes it clear that both approaches face important trade-offs and at a minimum empirical economist should have both techniques as part of their toolbox. The hope is that the use of both methods will only depend on the data at hand and the relevant institutional knowledge, paired with the actual research question we are trying to answer.

  12. Decker, R. et al. (2014) “The Role of Entrepreneurship in US Job Creation and Economic Dynamism,” Journal of Economic Perspectives, 28(3), pp. 3–24. Available at: Link.
    • Abstract

      An optimal pace of business dynamics—encompassing the processes of entry, exit, expansion, and contraction—would balance the benefits of productivity and economic growth against the costs to firms and workers associated with reallocation of productive resources. It is difficult to prescribe what the optimal pace should be, but evidence accumulating from multiple datasets and methodologies suggests that the rate of business startups and the pace of employment dynamism in the US economy has fallen over recent decades and that this downward trend accelerated after 2000. A critical factor in accounting for the decline in business dynamics is a lower rate of business startups and the related decreasing role of dynamic young businesses in the economy. For example, the share of US employment accounted for by young firms has declined by almost 30 percent over the last 30 years. These trends suggest that incentives for entrepreneurs to start new firms in the United States have diminished over time. We do not identify all the factors underlying these trends in this paper but offer some clues based on the empirical patterns for specific sectors and geographic regions.

  13. Decker, R. A. et al. (2017) “Declining Dynamism, Allocative Efficiency, and the Productivity Slowdown,” American Economic Review, 107(5), pp. 322–326. Available at: Link.
    • Abstract

      A large literature documents declining measures of business dynamism including high-growth young firm activity and job reallocation. A distinct literature describes a slowdown in the pace of aggregate labor productivity growth. We relate these patterns by studying changes in productivity growth from the late 1990s to the mid 2000s using firm-level data. We find that diminished allocative efficiency gains can account for the productivity slowdown in a manner that interacts with the within-firm productivity growth distribution. The evidence suggests that the decline in dynamism is reason for concern and sheds light on debates about the causes of slowing productivity growth.

  14. Decker, R. A. et al. (2016) “Declining Business Dynamism: What We Know and the Way Forward,” American Economic Review, 106(5), pp. 203–207. Available at: Link.
    • Abstract

      A growing body of evidence indicates that the U.S. economy has become less dynamic in recent years. This trend is evident in declining rates of gross job and worker flows as well as declining rates of entrepreneurship and young firm activity, and the trend is pervasive across industries, regions, and firm size classes. We describe the evidence on these changes in the U.S. economy by reviewing existing research. We then describe new empirical facts about the relationship between establishment-level productivity and employment growth, framing our results in terms of canonical models of firm dynamics and suggesting empirically testable potential explanations.

  15. Fernald, J. and Neiman, B. (2011) “Growth Accounting with Misallocation: or, Doing Less with More in Singapore,” American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, 3(2), pp. 29–74.
    • Abstract

      We derive aggregate growth-accounting implications for a two-sector economy with heterogeneous capital subsidies and monopoly power. In this economy, measures of total factor productivity (TFP) growth in terms of quantities (the primal) and real factor prices (the dual) can diverge from each other as well as from true technology growth. These distortions potentially give rise to dynamic reallocation effects that imply that change in technology needs to be measured from the bottom up rather than the top down. We show an example, for Singapore, of how incomplete data can be used to obtain estimates of aggregate and sectoral technology growth as well as reallocation effects. We also apply our framework to reconcile divergent TFP estimates in Singapore and to resolve other empirical puzzles regarding Asian development.

  16. Foster, L., Haltiwanger, J. and Krizan, C. J. (2006) “Market Selection, Reallocation, and Restructuring in the U.S. Retail Trade Sector in the 1990s,” The Review of Economics and Statistics, 88(4), pp. 748–758. Available at: Link.
    • Abstract

      The U.S. retail trade sector underwent a massive restructuring and reallocation of activity in the 1990s with accompanying technological advances. Using a data set of establishments in that sector, we quantify and explore the relationship between this restructuring and reallocation and labor productivity dynamics. We find that virtually all of the labor productivity growth in the retail trade sector is accounted for by more productive entering establishments displacing much less productive exiting establishments. The productivity gap between low-productivity exiting single-unit establishments and entering high-productivity establishments from large, national chains plays a disproportionate role in these dynamics. Copyright by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

  17. Foster, L., Haltiwanger, J. and Syverson, C. (2008) “Reallocation, Firm Turnover, and Efficiency: Selection on Productivity or Profitability?,” American Economic Review, 98(1), pp. 394–425.
    • Abstract

      We investigate the nature of selection and productivity growth in industries where we observe producer-level quantities and prices separately. We show there are important differences between revenue and physical productivity. Because physical productivity is inversely correlated with price while revenue productivity is positively correlated with price, previous work linking (revenue- based) productivity to survival confounded the separate and opposing effects of technical efficiency and demand on survival, understating the true impacts of both. Further, we find that young producers charge lower prices than incumbents. Thus the literature understates new producers’ productivity advantages and entry’s contribution to aggregate productivity growth. (JEL D24, L11, L25)

  18. Guner, N., Ventura, G. and Yi, X. (2008) “Macroeconomic Implications of Size-Dependent Policies,” Review of Economic Dynamics, 11(4), pp. 721–744.
    • Abstract

      Government policies that impose restrictions on the size of large establishments or firms, or promote small ones, are widespread across countries. In this paper, we develop a framework to systematically study policies of this class. We study a simple growth model with an endogenous size distribution of production units. We parameterize this model to account for the size distribution of establishments and for the large share of employment in large establishments. Then, we ask: quantitatively, how costly are policies that distort the size of production units? What is the impact of these policies on productivity measures, the equilibrium number of establishments and their size distribution? We find that these effects are potentially large: policies that reduce the average size of establishments by 20% lead to reductions in output and output per establishment up to 8.1% and 25.6% respectively, as well as large increases in the number of establishments (23.5%). (Copyright: Elsevier)

  19. Hall, R. E. (1988) “The Relation between Price and Marginal Cost in U.S. Industry,” Journal of Political Economy, 96(5), pp. 921–47. Available at: Link.
    • Abstract

      An examination of data on output and labor input reveals that some U.S. industries have marginal cost well below price. The conclusion rests on the finding that cyclical variations in labor input are small compared with variations in output. In booms, firms produce substantially more output and sell it for a price that exceeds the costs of the added inputs. This paper documents the disparity between price and marginal cost, where marginal cost is estimated from annual variations in cost. It considers a variety of explanations of the findings that are consistent with competition, but none is found to be completely plausible. Copyright 1988 by University of Chicago Press.

  20. Hall, R. E. (1989) Invariance Properties of Solow’s Productivity Residual. Working Paper 3034. National Bureau of Economic Research. doi: 10.3386/w3034.
    • Abstract

      In 1957, Robert Solow published a paper that provided the theoretical foundation for almost all subsequent work on productivity measurement. Although most applications of Solow’s method have measured trends over fairly long time periods, the method also has important uses at higher frequencies. Under constant returns to scale and competition, the Solow residual measures the pure shift of the production function. Shifts in product demand and factor supplies should have no effect on the residual. Tests of this invariance property show that it fails in a great many industries. Though other explanations may deserve some weight, it appears that the leading cause of the failure of invariance is increasing returns and market power. The empirical findings give some support to the theory of monopolistic competition.

  21. Haltiwanger, J. (2015) “Job Creation, Job Destruction, and Productivity Growth: The Role of Young Businesses,” Annual Review of Economics, 7(1), pp. 341–358. Available at: Link.
    • Abstract

      Recent improvements in the data infrastructure at US statistical agencies have dramatically enhanced the ability to measure and study job creation and job destruction. The longitudinal data now permit the tracking of all firms and establishments in the US private sector in a comprehensive and integrated manner. This allows researchers to distinguish between the contribution of new firms and that of new establishments. In addition, firm entry, growth, and survival dynamics can be tracked in terms of organic changes instead of changes associated with mergers and acquisitions or other forms of business ownership changes. These new developments have led to a burgeoning literature on US firm dynamics. The recent literature has especially focused on the role of young businesses for job and productivity growth. The findings from that literature are the focus of the current article. The recent developments are discussed in light of the large literature on firm dynamics (in terms of both theory and empirics) that has developed over the past few decades.

  22. Hicks, J. H. et al. (2017) Reevaluating Agricultural Productivity Gaps with Longitudinal Microdata. Working Paper 23253. National Bureau of Economic Research. doi: 10.3386/w23253.
    • Abstract

      Recent research has pointed to large gaps in labor productivity between the agricultural and non-agricultural sectors in low-income countries, as well as between workers in rural and urban areas. Most estimates are based on national accounts or repeated cross-sections of micro-survey data, and as a result typically struggle to account for individual selection between sectors. This paper contributes to this literature using long-run individual-level panel data from two low-income countries (Indonesia and Kenya). Accounting for individual fixed effects leads to much smaller estimated productivity gains from moving into the non-agricultural sector (or urban areas), reducing estimated gaps by over 80 percent. Per capita consumption gaps between non-agricultural and agricultural sectors, as well as between urban and rural areas, are also close to zero once individual fixed effects are included. Estimated productivity gaps do not emerge up to five years after a move between sectors, nor are they larger in big cities. We evaluate whether these findings imply a re-assessment of the current conventional wisdom regarding sectoral gaps, discuss how to reconcile them with existing cross-sectional estimates, and consider implications for the desirability of sectoral reallocation of labor.

  23. Hsieh, C.-T. and Klenow, P. J. (2009) “Misallocation and Manufacturing TFP in China and India,” Quarterly Journal of Economics. MIT Press, 124(4), pp. 1403–1448.
    • Abstract

      Resource misallocation can lower aggregate total factor productivity (TFP). We use microdata on manufacturing establishments to quantify the potential extent of misallocation in China and India versus the United States. We measure sizable gaps in marginal products of labor and capital across plants within narrowly defined industries in China and India compared with the United States. When capital and labor are hypothetically reallocated to equalize marginal products to the extent observed in the United States, we calculate manufacturing TFP gains of 30%–50% in China and 40%–60% in India.

  24. Jones, C. I. (2011) “Misallocation, Economic Growth, and Input-Output Economics,” NBER Working Papers, (16742).
    • Abstract

      One of the most important developments in the growth literature of the last decade is the enhanced appreciation of the role that the misallocation of resources plays in helping us understand income differences across countries. Misallocation at the micro level typically reduces total factor productivity at the macro level. Quantifying these effects is leading growth researchers in new directions, two examples being the extensive use of firm-level data and the exploration of input-output tables, and promises to yield new insights on why some countries are so much richer than others.

  25. Peters, M. (2013) Heterogeneous mark-ups, growth and endogenous misallocation. LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 54254. London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    • Abstract

      The recent work on misallocation argues that aggregate productivity in poor countries is low because various market frictions prevent marginal products from being equalized. By focusing on such allocative inefficiencies, misallocation is construed as a purely static phenomenon. This paper argues that misallocation also has dynamic consequences because it interacts with firms’ innovation and entry decisions, which determine the economy’s growth rate. To study this link between misallocation and growth, I construct a tractable endogenous growth model with heterogeneous firms, where misallocation stems from imperfectly competitive output markets. The model has an analytical solution and hence makes precise predictions about the relationship between growth, misallocation and welfare. It stresses the importance of entry. An increase in entry reduces misallocation by fostering competition. If entry also increases the economy-wide growth rate, static misallocation and growth are negatively correlated. The welfare consequences of misallocation might therefore be much larger once these dynamic considerations are taken into account. Using firm-level panel data from Indonesia, I present reduced form evidence for the importance of imperfect output market and calibrate the structural parameters. A policy, which reduces existing entry barriers, increases growth and reduces misallocation. The dynamic growth effects are more than four times as large as their static counterpart.

  26. Petrin, A., Reiter, J. and White, K. (2011) “The Impact of Plant-level Resource Reallocations and Technical Progress on U.S. Macroeconomic Growth,” Review of Economic Dynamics, 14(1), pp. 3–26.
    • Abstract

      We build up from the plant level an aggregate(d) Solow residual by estimating every U.S. manufacturing plant’s contribution to the change in aggregate final demand between 1976 and 1996. Our framework uses the Petrin and Levinsohn (2010) definition of aggregate productivity growth, which aggregates plant-level changes to changes in aggregate final demand in the presence of imperfect competition and other distortions and frictions. We decompose these contributions into plant-level resource reallocations and plant-level technical efficiency changes while allowing in the estimation for 459 different production technologies, one for each 4-digit SIC code. On average we find positive aggregate productivity growth of 2.2% in this sector during this period of declining share in U.S. GDP. We find that aggregate reallocation made a larger contribution to growth than aggregate technical efficiency. Our estimates of the contribution of reallocation range from 1.7% to 2.1% per year, while our estimates of the average contribution of aggregate technical efficiency growth range from 0.2% to 0.6% per year. In terms of cyclicality, the aggregate technical efficiency component has a standard deviation that is roughly 50% to 100% larger than that of aggregate total reallocation, pointing to an important role for technical efficiency in macroeconomic fluctuations. Aggregate reallocation is negative in only 3 of the 20 years of our sample, suggesting that the movement of inputs to more highly valued activities on average plays a stabilizing role in manufacturing growth. Our results have implications for both the theoretical literature on growth and alternative indexes of aggregate productivity growth based only on technical efficiency. (Copyright: Elsevier)

  27. Petrin, A. and Srinivasan, J. (2013) “Estimating Lost Output from Allocative Inefficiency, with Application to Chile and Firing Costs,” Review of Economics and Statistics, 95(1), pp. 286–301.
    • Abstract

      We propose a new measure of allocative efficiency based on unrealized increases in aggregate productivity growth. We show that the difference in the value of the marginal product of an input and its marginal cost at any plant—the plant-input gap—is exactly equal to the change in aggregate output that would occur if that plant changed that input’s use by one unit. We show how to estimate this gap using plant-level data for 1982 to 1994 from Chilean manufacturing. We find the gaps for blue- and white-collar labor are quite large in absolute value, and these gaps (unlike for materials and electricity) are increasing over time. The timing of the sharpest increases in the labor gaps suggests that they may be related to increases in severance pay.

  28. Restuccia, D. and Rogerson, R. (2008) “Policy Distortions and Aggregate Productivity with Heterogeneous Plants,” Review of Economic Dynamics, 11(4), pp. 707–720.
    • Abstract

      We formulate a version of the growth model in which production is carried out by heterogeneous establishments and calibrate it to U.S. data. In the context of this model we argue that differences in the allocation of resources across establishments that differ in productivity may be an important factor in accounting for cross-country differences in output per capita. In particular, we show that policies which create heterogeneity in the prices faced by individual producers can lead to sizeable decreases in output and measured total factor productivity (TFP) in the range of 30 to 50 percent. We show that these effects can result from policies that do not rely on aggregate capital accumulation or aggregate relative price differences. More generally, the model can be used to generate differences in capital accumulation, relative prices, and measured TFP.

  29. Syverson, C. (2004) “Product Substitutability and Productivity Dispersion,” Review of Economics and Statistics, 86(2), pp. 534–550.
    • Abstract

      Tremendous differences in producer productivity levels exist, even within narrowly defined industries. This paper explores the influence of product substitutability in an industry on this disparity. When consumers can easily switch between producers, inefficient (high-cost) producers cannot operate profitably. Thus high-substitutability industries should exhibit less productivity dispersion and have higher average productivity levels. I demonstrate this mechanism in a simple industry equilibrium model and test it empirically using producer-level data from 443 U.S. manufacturing industries. I find evidence that substitutability measured in several ways’is indeed negatively related to within-industry productivity dispersion and positively related to median productivity.

  30. Ziebarth, N. (2013) “Are China and India Backwards? Evidence from the 19th Century U.S. Census of Manufactures,” Review of Economic Dynamics, 16(1), pp. 86–99.
    • Abstract

      Hsieh and Klenow (2009) argue that a large fraction of aggregate TFP differences between the U.S. and the developing countries of China and India can be explained by factor misallocation. Their interpretation is that this misallocation is due to institutions and policies in these developing countries that redirect resources from productive to unproductive firms. Using the U.S. Census of Manufactures from the late 19th century, I find that the level of dispersion in these modern, less developed countries is very similar to that in the 19th century U.S. What is similar about the countries is their level of development not the existence of institutions that Hsieh and Klenow (2009) emphasize such as state owned enterprises as in China or entry restrictions as in India. These results suggest that the institutional basis of misallocation potentially goes beyond these overtly distortionary policies. I apply their accounting procedure to the U.S. and find that between 4% and 7% of total manufacturing TFP growth in the 20th century can be attributed to a more efficient intra-industry allocation of resources. I conclude by discussing some other explanations for these results including differences in transportation networks and lack of competitive regulation. (Copyright: Elsevier)

  31. De Loecker, J. and Warzynski, F. (2012) “Markups and Firm-Level Export Status,” American Economic Review, 102(6), pp. 2437–71. Available at: Link.
    • Abstract

      In this paper, we develop a method to estimate markups using plant-level production data. Our approach relies on cost-minimizing producers and the existence of at least one variable input of production. The suggested empirical framework relies on the estimation of a production function and provides estimates of plant-level markups without specifying how firms compete in the product market. We rely on our method to explore the relationship between markups and export behavior. We find that markups are estimated significantly higher when controlling for unobserved productivity; that exporters charge, on average, higher markups and that markups increase upon export entry. (JEL D22, D24, F14, L11, L60)

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