Productivity Measurement Using Capital Asset Valuation to Adjust for Variations in Utilization

Ernst R. Berndt, Melvyn A. Fuss

NBER Working Paper No. 895
Issued in May 1982
NBER Program(s):   PR

Although a great deal of empirical research on productivity measuremant has taken place in the last decade, one issue remaining particudarly controversial and deaisive is the manner by which one adjusts the productivity residual for variations in capital and capacity utilization. In this paper we use the Marshallian framework of a short run production or cost function with certain inputs quasi-fixed to provide a theoretical basis for accounting for variations in utilization. The theoretical model implies that the value of services from stocks of quasi-fixed inputs should be altered rather than their quantity. This represents a departure from most previous procedures that have adjusted the quantity of capital services for variations in utilization. In the empirical illustration, we employ Tobin's q to measure the shadow value of capital, and find that for the U.S. manufacturing sector, we can attribute about 50% of the traditionally measured decline in productivity growth during 1973-77 to a decline in capacity utilization. Hence, adjusted for utilization, the 1973-77 productivity slowdown in U.S. manufacturing is considerably less than that measured using traditional productivity accounting techniques.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w0895

Published: Berndt, Ernst R. and Melvyn A. Fuss. "Productivity Measurement Using Capital Asset Valuation to Adjust for Variations in Utilization." Journal of Econometrics, November 1986.

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