The purpose of this paper is to investigate the basic facts of service industry productivity, such as economies of scale, economies of scope, and economies of density in Japan. Specifically, by using establishment-level data on personal-service industries in which the simultaneity of production and consumption is especially prominent, the paper estimates production functions both for value-added and physical output measures.
Key findings from the analysis are as follows:
1. In almost all the examined service industries, economies of scale in terms of establishment size and firm size, and economies of scope are found.
2. In almost all the examined service industries, significant economies of population density are observed, with productivity increases of 10%-20% when municipality population density doubles. The sizes of these coefficients are substantially larger than those observed in manufacturing industries for which sales destinations are far less restricted geographically; demonstrating demand density's importance to the productivity of service industries.
3. The above findings are confirmed by estimation using measures of physical output instead of the amount of value added.
These findings suggest the possibility that consolidation and expansion at an establishment level, as well as multi-store and chain store operations at a firm level, may help improve the productivity of personal-service industries. Formation of population-dense areas is also suggested, as this would have a positive effect on productivity.
Published: Masayuki Morikawa, 2011. "Economies of Density and Productivity in Service Industries: An Analysis of Personal Service Industries Based on Establishment-Level Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, Vol. 93(1), pp. 179-192.