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BPEA Article

Productivity Dynamics in Manufacturing Plants

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MUCH OF THE TRADITIONAL analysis of productivity growth in manufacturing industries has been based explicitly or implicitly on a model in which identical, perfectly competitive plants respond in the same way to forces that strike the industry as a whole. The estimates of growth obtained with this framework are then used as the basis for discussions of policy concerning capital accumulation, research and development, trade, or other issues. This contrasts markedly with the literature of industrial organization in which perfect competition is seen as an unusual market structure and in which the differences among firms are examined in detail. The models of oligopoly that are the staple of the industrial organization literature are then used to examine antitrust policy.


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