Based on an endogenous growth model, we show that intermediate goods markets imperfections can curb incentives to improve productivity downstream. We confirm such prediction by estimating a model of multifactor productivity growth in which the effects of upstream competition vary with distance to frontier on a panel of 15 OECD countries and 20 sectors over 1985-2007. Competitive pressures are proxied with sectoral product market regulation data. We find evidence that anticompetitive upstream regulations have curbed MFP growth over the past 15 years, more strongly so for observations that are close to the productivity frontier.
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