NBER

Kyle J. Emerick

Department of Economics
Tufts University

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: Tufts University

NBER Working Papers and Publications

April 2020Productivity Dispersion and Persistence Among the World's Most Numerous Firms
with Casey C. Maue, Marshall Burke: w26924
A vast firm productivity literature finds that otherwise similar firms differ widely in their productivity and that these differences persist through time, with important implications for the broader macroeconomy. These stylized facts derive largely from studies of manufacturing firms in wealthy countries, and thus have unknown relevance for the world's most common firm type, the smallholder farm. We use detailed micro data from over 12,000 smallholder farms and nearly 100,000 agricultural plots across four countries in Africa to study the size, source, and persistence of productivity dispersion among smallholder farmers. Applying standard regression-based approaches to measuring productivity residuals, we find much larger dispersion but less persistence than benchmark estimates from manuf...

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