The evolution of the productivity dispersion of firms - A reevaluation of its determinants in the case of Japan

執筆者 ITO Keiko  (Senshu University) /Sébastien LECHEVALIER  (EHESS and Maison Franco-Japonaise)
発行日/NO. 2008年5月  08-E-014


There is a growing body of literature analyzing empirically the evolution of productivity dispersion at the firm level and its determinants. This paper contributes to this literature by investigating the case of Japanese firms during the so-called “Lost Decade” (1992-2005), which is still under-analyzed. We use a firm-level panel dataset taken from a large-scale administrative survey, the Basic Survey of Japanese Business Structure and Activities (BSBSA) for the years 1994-2003.

Our results can be summarized as follows. First, we confirm that there was an overall increase in both labor productivity and total factor productivity dispersion, especially in the manufacturing sector from 1998 onward. Second, in the case of Japanese firms during the Lost Decade, and contrary to what has been found for some other countries, we find no significant impact of the introduction of information and communication technologies (ICT) on productivity dispersion. On the other hand, we do find evidence of a significant and positive impact of internationalization on productivity dispersion. In addition, the evolution of the competitive environment appears to play a role: we find that the increase in the Hershman-Herfindahl index observed in some sectors, which characterizes a more oligopolistic environment, is associated with an increase in productivity dispersion.