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Long-run technical change and multifactor productivity growth in US manufacturing

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This study utilizes a translog cost function to produce econometric estimates of the separate influences of technical change versus scale efficiency in contributing to multifactor productivity growth within the US manufacturing sector. The analysis generates (two-digit) industry-specific parameters that capture the effects of output versus time-related shifts in the cost function over the 1949-1991 period. Thus initial evidence concerning the relative importance of technical progress (versus 'scale') cannot be provided as a source of productivity gains within two-digit industries. The parametric estimates of total factor productivity growth are compared with existing Divisia measures to explore the shortcomings of the growth accounting technique. These long-run patterns hold implications for the productivity convergence hypothesis traced to knowledge spillovers between industries.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: February 1, 2001

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