This paper shows how to compute the standard errors for partial effects of exogenous firm characteristics influencing firm inefficiency under a range of popular stochastic frontier model specifications. We also develop an R[superscript 2]-type measure to summarize the overall explanatory power of the exogenous factors on firm inefficiency. The paper also applies a recently developed model selection procedure to choose among alternative stochastic frontier specifications using data from household maize production in Kenya. The magnitude of estimated partial effects of exogenous household characteristics on inefficiency turns out to be very sensitive to model specification, and the model selection procedure leads to an unambiguous choice of best model. We propose a bootstrapping procedure to evaluate the size and power of the model selection procedure. The empirical application also provides further evidence on how household characteristics influence technical inefficiency in maize production in developing countries.
This paper investigates the impact of international migration on technical efficiency, resource allocation and income from agricultural production of family farming in Albania. The results suggest that migration is used by rural households as a pathway out of agriculture: migration is negatively associated with both labour and non-labour input allocation in agriculture, while no significant differences can be detected in terms of farm technical efficiency or agricultural income. Whether the rapid demographic changes in rural areas triggered by massive migration, possibly combined with propitious land and rural development policies, will ultimately produce the conditions for a more viable, high-return agriculture attracting larger investments remains to be seen.
Using a unique longitudinal data set on all manufacturing firms in Slovenia from 1994 to 2001, this article analyzes how firm efficiency changed in response to changing competitive pressures associated with the transition to market. Results show that the period was one of atypically rapid growth of total factor productivity (TFP). The rise in firm efficiency occurs across almost all industries and firm types: large or small, state or private, domestic or foreign owned. Changes in firm ownership type have no direct impact on firm efficiency. However, increased market competition related to rising market share of private firms, new market entrants, foreign-owned firms, and international trade raises TFP across all firms in an industry, whether private or state owned. In addition, competitive pressures that sort out inefficient firms of all types and retain the most efficient, coupled with the entry of new private firms that are at least as efficient as surviving firms, prove to be the major source of TFP gains. Results strongly confirm that market competition fosters efficiency.
The Addis Ababa Integrated Housing Development Program (AAIHDP) aims to tackle the housing shortage and unemployment that prevail in Addis Ababa by deploying and supporting small enterprises to construct low-cost housing using technologies novel for Ethiopia. The motivation for such support is predicated on the view that small firms create more jobs per unit of investment by virtue of being more labor intensive and that the jobs so created are concentrated among the low-skilled and hence the poor. To assess whether the program has succeeded in biasing technology adoption in favor of labor and thereby contributed to poverty reduction, the impact of the program on technology usage, labor intensity, and earnings is investigated using a unique matched workers-firms dataset, the Addis Ababa Construction Enterprise Survey (AACES), collected specifically for the purpose of analyzing the impact of the program. We find that program firms do not adopt different technologies and are not more labor intensive than nonprogram firms. There is an earnings premium for program participants, who tend to be relatively well educated, which is heterogeneous and highest for those at the bottom of the earnings distribution.
Manufacturing enterprises in rural and urban Ethiopia are compared to examine how location and investment climate characteristics affect performance. Urban firms are larger, more capital intensive and have higher labor productivity than rural firms, yet there is no strong evidence of increasing returns to scale. The hypothesis that firms in rural towns have the same average total factor productivity as urban firms is not rejected; however, firms in remote rural areas are less productive. Rural firms grow less quickly than urban firms. These results can partly be attributed to differences in the quality of infrastructure, access to credit and transportation costs across rural and urban areas. Since rural firms operate in a business environment that is very different from its urban counterpart, lessons derived from urban investment climate surveys cannot immediately be transferred to rural areas.
This paper investigates the effect of ownership and competition on Indian bank productivity since the 1991 reforms. We find that Indian private banks dominate the public and foreign banks both in terms of productivity levels and productivity growth, with the new Indian private banks leading the charge. Competition has a positive impact on productivity for the old Indian private banks, and all the other banks are hurt by competition--the worst hit being new Indian private banks. A similar picture emerges on the productivity growth side, with the new Indian private bank productivity growth being the worst affected as competition increases. An analysis of the pre- and post-1998 periods shows that the latter period displays a much higher productivity gap between the Indian private banks and the public and foreign banks. Indian private bank productivity and productivity growth suffer due to increasing competition in the post-1998 period.
The increased inflow of imported shrimp into the US has lowered shrimp prices in the marketplace and with it, ex-vessel prices received by shrimp fishermen. Proposed remedies are aimed at strategies to increase the prices received by domestic producers. This study looks into issues related to the production side by estimating the technical efficiency of South Carolina shrimp boat operators. Estimates using a stochastic production frontier method show that average efficiency is 46%. This finding has strong implications on the long-term survival and viability of the local shrimp industry as it continues to face competition from low-priced imports.
Although a large theoretical literature discusses the possible inefficiency of sharecropping contracts, empirical evidence on this phenomenon has been ambiguous at best. Household-level fixed-effect estimates from about 8,500 plots operated by households that own and sharecrop land in the Ethiopian highlands provide support for the hypothesis of Marshallian inefficiency. At the same time, a factor adjustment model suggests that the extent to which rental markets allow households to attain their desired operational holding size is limited. Our analysis points toward factor market imperfections (no rental for oxen), lack of alternative employment opportunities, and tenure insecurity as possible reasons underlying such an outcome. They suggest that, rather than worrying only about Marshallian inefficiency, attention to the broader environment and policy framework within which producers can adjust to their optimum operational area will be warranted.
This paper exploits an extensive Brazilian micro-enterprise survey and the 1996 introduction of a business tax reduction and simplification scheme (SIMPLES) to examine three questions. First, do high tax rates and complex tax regulations really constitute a barrier to the formalization of micro-firms? Second, does formalization improve firm performance measured along several dimensions, including revenues, employment and capital stock? Third, what are the channels through which this occurs? We find that SIMPLES led to a significant increase in formality in several dimensions. Moreover, newly created firms that opt for operating formally show higher levels of revenue and profits, employ more workers and are more capital intensive (only for those firms that have employees). The channel through which this occurs is not access to credit or contracts with larger firms. Rather, it appears that the lower cost of contracting labor leads to adopting production techniques that involve a permanent location and a larger paid labor force.
This paper studies the correlates of firm total factor productivity (TFP) in Bangladesh using data from a recent survey of large manufacturing firms. TFP measures are obtained following [Ackerberg, D., Caves, K., and Frazer, G. (2007). Structural identification of production functions. UCLA mimeo] and using firm-specific deflators for output and inputs. Controlling for industry, location, and year fixed effects, we find that firm size and TFP are negatively correlated while firm age and TFP exhibit an inverse U-shaped relationship. We also find that managerial quality and global integration are positively associated with firm TFP. Finally, we find that power supply problems, heavy bureaucracy, and the presence of crime dampen firm TFP.
We use data from smallholder coffee farms in Vietnam to measure the technical efficiency of coffee producers, and the degree to which potential restrictions on the shadow prices of chemical inputs might reduce overall efficiency among these farmers. Using input-oriented data envelopment analysis (DEA) we find the use of pesticide and herbicide accounts for a relatively small proportion of overall technical efficiency in the sample. We place restrictions on input shadow prices and show that restricting their importance does not dramatically alter patterns or measures of short-run efficiency.
An efficient bankruptcy system should liquidate nonviable businesses and reorganize viable ones. The importance of this filtering process has long been recognized in the literature; the typical reason advanced for its failure has been biases (in codes or among judges). In this paper we show that bankruptcy costs can be another source of such filtering failure. We illustrate this with the Colombian reform of 1999. Using data from 1,924 firms filing for bankruptcy between 1996 and 2003, we find that the prereform reorganization proceedings were so inefficient that the bankruptcy system failed to separate economically viable firms from inefficient ones. In contrast, by streamlining the reorganization process, the reform contributed to the improvement of the selection of viable firms into reorganization. In this sense, the new law increased the efficiency of the bankruptcy system in Colombia.
This paper gauges efficiency in container ports. Using non-parametric methods, we estimate efficiency frontiers based on information from 86 ports across the world. Three attractive features of the method are: 1) it is based on an aggregated measure of efficiency despite the existence of multiple inputs; 2) it does not assume particular input-output functional relationships; and 3) it does not rely on a priori peer selection to construct the benchmark. Results show that the most inefficient ports use inputs in excess of 20 to 40 percent. Since infrastructure costs represent about 40 percent of total maritime transport costs, these could be reduced by 12 percent by moving from the inefficient extreme of the distribution to the efficient one.
Public infrastructure has long been faced with difficulty in financing. Available public resources are often limited in many countries. Competitive bidding in public procurement systems is an important instrument to contain the public investment costs. But competition is often limited in the infrastructure sector. In such circumstances, better public procurement design can save a lot of public resources. There is a general tradeoff between the competition effect and economies of scale and scope; large contracts can benefit from the scale and scope effects but have to compromise competition. The unbundling approach can foster competition but may suffer from diseconomies of scale and scope. Using procurement data from water supply and sewage projects in developing countries, the paper analyzes the effects of the (un)bundling strategy on bidders' entry and bidding behavior. It shows that the bidder cost structure exhibits significant diseconomies of scope between two main public works in this sector, i.e., treatment plant construction and distribution network installation. There is no clear evidence of the competition effect. Therefore, there is no rationale of bundling these two works into a single contract. Unbundling can help governments to contain public infrastructure costs.
Although it is widely accepted that financial development is associated with higher growth, the evidence on the channels through which credit affects growth at the microeconomic level is scant. Using data from a cross-section of Bulgarian firms, we estimate the impact of access to credit, as proxied by indicators of whether firms have access to a credit line or overdraft facility, on productivity. To overcome potential omitted variable bias of Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) estimates, we use information on firms' past growth to instrument for access to credit. We find credit to be positively and strongly associated with TFP. These results are robust to a wide range of robustness checks.
In order to continue on the path to convergence with advanced countries, emerging countries need to strengthen their research capabilities. Often they try to do this through the development of strategic industries. The objective of this paper is to contribute to the debate on the effectiveness of policies aimed at the development of strategic industries in emerging economies. The paper develops a three-phase model for product innovation with capital investment under uncertainty to study the investment decisions of a manufacturer in an industry facing a volatile market demand for new inventions. The findings demonstrate the importance of interactions between market structure, a firm's market power and the associated cost of adjustment. The paper draws out implications for emerging economies with regard to policies striving to develop strategic industries in sectors such as semiconductors and information technology.
This paper investigates the relationship between the productivity of African manufacturing firms and their access to services inputs. We use data from the World Bank Enterprise Survey for over 1,000 firms in ten Sub-Saharan African countries to calculate the total factor productivity of firms. The Enterprise Surveys also contain unique measures of firms' access to communications, electricity and financial services. The availability of these measures at the firm level, both as subjective and objective indicators, allows us to exploit the variation in services performance at the sub-national regional level. Furthermore, by using the regional variation in services performance, we are also able to address concerns about the possible endogeneity of the services variables. Our results show a significant and positive relationship between firm productivity and service performance in all three services sectors analysed. The paper thus provides support for the argument that improvements in services industries contribute to enhancing the performance of downstream economic activities, and thus are an essential element of a strategy for promoting growth and reducing poverty.