NBER

Matthias Kehrig

Department of Economics
Duke University
237 Social Sciences, Box 90097
Durham, NC 27708
Tel: 919/660-1901

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NBER Program Affiliations: PR
NBER Affiliation: Faculty Research Fellow
Institutional Affiliation: Duke University

NBER Working Papers and Publications

June 2019Good Dispersion, Bad Dispersion
with Nicolas Vincent: w25923
Dispersion in marginal revenue products of inputs across plants is commonly thought to reflect misallocation, i.e., dispersion is "bad." We document that most dispersion occurs across plants within rather than between firms. In a model of multi-plant firms, we then show that dispersion can be "good": Eliminating frictions increases productivity dispersion and raises overall output. Based on this framework, we argue that in U.S. manufacturing, one-quarter of the total variance of revenue products reflects good dispersion. In contrast, we find that in emerging economies, almost all dispersion is bad and the gains from eliminating distortions are larger than previously thought.
November 2018The Micro-Level Anatomy of the Labor Share Decline
with Nicolas Vincent: w25275
The labor share in U.S. manufacturing declined from 62 percentage points (ppts) in 1967 to 41 ppts in 2012. The labor share of the typical U.S. manufacturing establishment, in contrast, rose by over 3 ppts during the same period. Using micro-level data, we document five salient facts: (1) since the 1980s, there has been a dramatic reallocation of value added toward the lower end of the labor share distribution; (2) this aggregate reallocation is not due to entry/exit, to “superstars” growing faster or to large establishments lowering their labor shares, but is instead due to units whose labor share fell as they grew in size; (3) low labor share (LL) establishments benefit from high revenue labor productivity, not low wages; (4) they also enjoy a product price premium relative to their peer...
September 2014Slow to Hire, Quick to Fire: Employment Dynamics with Asymmetric Responses to News
with Cosmin Ilut, Martin Schneider: w20473
Concave hiring rules imply that firms respond more to bad shocks than to good shocks. They provide a unified explanation for several seemingly unrelated facts about employment growth in macro and micro data. In particular, they generate countercyclical movement in both aggregate conditional “macro” volatility and cross-sectional “micro” volatility, as well as negative skewness in the cross-section and in the time series at different levels of aggregation. Concave establishment-level responses of employment growth to TFP shocks estimated from Census data induce significant skewness, movements in volatility and amplification of bad aggregate shocks.

Published: Cosmin Ilut & Matthias Kehrig & Martin Schneider, 2018. "Slow to Hire, Quick to Fire: Employment Dynamics with Asymmetric Responses to News," Journal of Political Economy, vol 126(5), pages 2011-2071.

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