Growing Like Spain: 1995-2007
46 Pages Posted: 11 May 2016
Date Written: May 11, 2016
Spanish GDP grew at an average rate of 3.5% per year during the 1995-2007 expansion, well above the EU average of 2.2%. However, this growth was based on factor accumulation rather than productivity gains as TFP fell at an annual rate of 0.7%. Using firm-level administrative data for all sectors we show that deterioration in the allocative efficiency of productive factors across firms was at the root of the low TFP growth in Spain, while misallocation across sectors played only a minor role. We show that within-industry misallocation of production factors increased substantially over the period in all industries. Absent such deterioration, average TFP growth would have been around 0.8% per year, in line with the growth of the technological frontier. Cross-industry variation reveals that the increase in misallocation was more severe in sectors where the incidence of regulations is greater. In contrast, sectoral differences in financial dependence, skill intensity, innovative content, tradability and the intensity of capital structures appear to be unrelated to changes in allocative efficiency. All in all, the observed high output growth together with increasing firm-level misallocation in all sectors is consistent with an expansion driven by a demand boom rather than by structural reforms.
Keywords: TFP, misallocation, Spain
JEL Classification: D24, O11, O47
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation