News from the Frontier: Increased Productivity Dispersion across Firms and Factor Reallocation

Paul Bouche, Gilbert Cette, Rémy Lecat

Abstract


Analysing French firms over 1991-2016, we find first that since the beginning of the century, one or two downward significant productivity breaks have occurred in all industries, both at the frontier and for laggard firms, suggesting a decline in the contribution of technological progress to productivity growth. Second, the median labour share is always higher for the laggard firms, with no clear trend, than for the frontier firms, with a sharp decrease from the mid-1990s to 2008, and an increase from 2008 onwards. Third, factor reallocation decreased significantly in the 2000s, at the time when we observed an increase in productivity dispersion, with a growing productivity gap between frontier and laggard firms. It appears also that reallocation has been lower on average over the whole period for sectors with a high import share, which can be related to the impact of global value chains.

Keywords


productivity; frontier firms; reallocation

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