Chapter

Sources of Productivity Growth in the American Coal Industry 1972–95

Edited by Denny Ellerman, Thomas M. Stoker and Ernst R. Berndt

in New Developments in Productivity Analysis

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print August 2001 | ISBN: 9780226360621
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226360645 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226360645.003.0009
Sources of Productivity Growth in the American Coal Industry 1972–95

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Aggregate productivity statistics measure the efficiency with which resources are being used in a country or industry, but problems of measurement and aggregation in the inevitable presence of heterogeneity require that these statistics be interpreted carefully to avoid misleading results. This chapter exploits an unusual database to explore the differences between productivity trends as they appear at the aggregate level and as they may be experienced at the firm level. The Mine Safety and Health Administration, as part of its mandated regulatory effort, has collected labor input and coal output information for every mine in the United States since 1972, along with data on site locations, operator identity, and mining techniques. Thus, labor productivity can be observed for this industry at the lowest practicable level; and, based on this microdata, a national aggregate, as well as any number of subaggregates, can be formed from the bottom up. A commentary is also included at the end of the chapter.

Keywords: aggregate productivity statistics; mining techniques; Mine Safety and Health Administration; labor productivity

Chapter.  18215 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Econometrics and Mathematical Economics

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