What Determines Productivity?
Syverson, Chad. 2011. "What Determines Productivity?."
Journal of Economic Literature,
Economists have shown that large and persistent differences in productivity levels across businesses are ubiquitous. This finding has shaped research agendas in a number of fields, including (but not limited to) macroeconomics, industrial organization,
labor, and trade. This paper surveys and evaluates recent empirical work addressing the question of why businesses differ in their measured productivity levels. The causes are manifold, and differ depending on the particular setting. They include elements sourced in production practices -- and therefore over which producers have some direct control, at least in theory -- as well as from producers' external operating
environments. After evaluating the current state of knowledge, I lay out what I see are the major questions that research in the area should address going forward. (JEL D24, G31, L11, M10, O30, O47)
Article Full-Text Access
Syverson, Chad (U Chicago)
D24: Production; Cost; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
G31: Capital Budgeting; Fixed Investment and Inventory Studies; Capacity
L11: Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
M10: Business Administration: General
O30: Technological Change; Research and Development: General
O47: Measurement of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence