On the Restrictiveness of Separability: The Significance of Energy in German Manufacturing

25 Pages Posted: 2 May 2006

See all articles by Manuel Frondel

Manuel Frondel

RWI Leibniz Institute for Economic Research ; Ruhr University Bochum (RUB)

Christoph M. Schmidt

RWI - Leibniz-Insitut für Wirtschaftsforschung (RWI Essen); Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Date Written: April 2006

Abstract

Any researcher would certainly agree with Hamermesh's (1993:34) intuition about separability that the ease of substitution between any two production factors should be unaffected by a third factor that is separable from the others. This paper emphasizes that such a notion of separability needs to be more restrictive than the classical separability concept is. We thus coin the notion of strict separability that implies the classical concept. By applying both separability concepts in a translog approach to German manufacturing data (1978-1990), we focus on the empirical question of whether the omission of energy affects the conclusions about the ease of substitution among nonenergy factors. We find ample empirical evidence to doubt the assumption that energy is separable from all other production factors even in the relatively mild form of classical separability. At least under separability aspects, therefore, energy appears to be an indispensable production factor.

Keywords: Substitution, Translog Cost Functions

JEL Classification: C3, D2

Suggested Citation

Frondel, Manuel and Schmidt, Christoph M., On the Restrictiveness of Separability: The Significance of Energy in German Manufacturing (April 2006). RWI Discussion Paper No. 38. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=899091 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.899091

Manuel Frondel (Contact Author)

RWI Leibniz Institute for Economic Research ( email )

Hohenzollernstr. 1-3
45128 Essen
Germany

Ruhr University Bochum (RUB) ( email )

Universitätsstraße 150
Bochum, NRW 44780
Germany

Christoph M. Schmidt

RWI - Leibniz-Insitut für Wirtschaftsforschung (RWI Essen) ( email )

Hohenzollernstraße 1-3
Essen, 45128
Germany
++49 201 8149-227 (Phone)
++49 201 8149-236 (Fax)

Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB)

GC 2/150
Universitätsstr. 150
D-44780 Bochum
Germany

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

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