Distortions in Production Networks
99 Pages Posted: 2 May 2016 Last revised: 2 Apr 2021
Date Written: April 2016
How does an economy's production structure determine its macroeconomic response to sectoral distortions? We study a static framework in which production is organized in an input-output network and firms' production decisions are distorted. We show how sectoral distortions manifest at the aggregate level via two channels: total factor productivity and the labor wedge. The strength of each channel depends jointly on the input-output structure and the distribution of shocks. Near efficiency, distortions generate zero first-order effects on TFP but non-zero first-order effects on the labor wedge; the latter we show to be determined by the sector's network "centrality." We apply the model to the 2008-09 Financial Crisis and find that the U.S. input-ouput network may have amplified financial distortions by roughly a factor of two relative to a counterfactual economy devoid of intermediate good trade.
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