Explaining Educational Attainment across Countries and over Time
Consider the following facts. In 1950, the richest countries attained an average of 8 years of schooling whereas the poorest countries 1.3 years, a large 6-fold difference. By 2005, the difference in schooling declined to 2-fold because schooling increased faster in poor than in rich countries. What explains educational attainment differences across countries and their evolution over time? We consider an otherwise standard model of schooling featuring non- homothetic preferences and a labor supply margin to assess the quantitative contribution of productivity and life expectancy in explaining ...
Comparative Advantage and Moonlighting
The proportion of multiple jobholders (moonlighters) is negatively correlated with productivity (wages) in cross-sectional and time series data, but positively correlated with education. We develop a model of the labor market to understand these seemingly contradictory facts. An income e?ect explains the negative correlation with productivity while a comparative advantage of skilled workers explains the positive correlation with education. We provide empirical evidence of the comparative advantage in CPS data. We calibrate the model to 1994 data on multiple jobholdings, and assess its ability ...
Measuring the “Free” Digital Economy Within the GDP and Productivity Accounts
We develop an experimental methodology that values ?free? digital content through the lens of a production account and is consistent with the framework of the national accounts. We build upon the work in Nakamura, et al. (2016) by combining marketing- and advertising-supported content and find that the impact of ?free? digital content on U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) has accelerated in recent years, particularly since 2005. However, the explosion in ?free? digital content is partially offset by a decrease in ?free? print content like newspapers. Including these, real GDP growth would grow ...
Is "Learning-by-Exporting" Important? Micro-dynamic Evidence from Colombia, Mexico, and Morocco
Is there any empirical evidence that firms become more efficient after becoming exporters? Do firms that become exporters generate positive spillovers for domestically-oriented producers in their industry or region? In this paper we analyze the causal links between exporting and productivity using firm-level panel data from three semi-industrialized economies. Representing export market participation and production costs as jointly dependent autoregressive processes, we look for evidence that firms' stochastic cost process shifts when they break into foreign markets. We find that relatively ...
The equilibrium real policy rate through the lens of standard growth models
The long-run equilibrium real policy rate is a key concept in monetary economics and an important input into monetary policy decision-making. It has gained particular prominence lately as the Federal Reserve continues to normalize monetary policy. In this study, we assess the evolution, current level, and prospective values of this equilibrium rate within the framework of standard growth models. Our analysis considers as a baseline the single-sector Solow model, but it places more emphasis on the multi-sector neoclassical growth model, which better fits the data over the past three decades. ...
The Great Recession, entrepreneurship, and productivity performance
In recent years, it is argued, the level of entrepreneurial activity in the United States has declined, causing concern because of its potential macroeconomic implications. In particular, it is feared that a lower rate of firm creation may be associated with lower productivity growth and, hence, lower economic growth in the coming years. This paper studies the issue, focusing on the dynamics of entrepreneurship and productivity around the time of the Great Recession. The author looks first at the recent evolution of alternative measures of entrepreneurship and of productivity, and then ...
The Cross-Section of Labor Leverage and Equity Returns
Using a standard production model, we demonstrate theoretically that, even if labor is fully flexible, it generates a form of operating leverage if (a) wages are smoother than productivity and (b) the capital-labor elasticity of substitution is strictly less than one. Our model supports using labor share?the ratio of labor expenses to value added?as a proxy for labor leverage. We show evidence for conditions (a) and (b), and we demonstrate the economic significance of labor leverage: High labor-share firms have operating profits that are more sensitive to shocks, and they have higher expected ...
Firm Entry and Macroeconomic Dynamics: A State-level Analysis
Using an annual panel of U.S. states over the period 1982-2014, we estimate the response of macroeconomic variables to a shock to the number of new firms (startups). We find that these shocks have significant effects that persist for many years on real gross domestic product, productivity and population. This is consistent with simple models of firm dynamics where a ?missing generation? of firms affects productivity persistently.
Productivity and Potential Output Before, During, and After the Great Recession
U.S. labor and total-factor productivity growth slowed prior to the Great Recession. The timing rules explanations that focus on disruptions during or since the recession, and industry and state data rule out ?bubble economy? stories related to housing or finance. The slowdown is located in industries that produce information technology (IT) or that use IT intensively, consistent with a return to normal productivity growth after nearly a decade of exceptional IT-fueled gains. A calibrated growth model suggests trend productivity growth has returned close to its 1973-1995 pace. Slower ...
World Productivity: 1996 - 2014
We account for the sources of world productivity growth, using data for more than 36 industries and 40 major economies from 1996 to 2014, explicitly taking into account changes in the misallocation of resources in labor, capital, and product markets. Productivity growth in advanced economies slowed but emerging markets grew more quickly which kept global productivity growth relatively constant until around 2010. After that, productivity growth in all major regions slowed. Much of the volatility in world productivity growth reflects shifts in the misallocation of labor across countries and ...