Total factor productivity, intangible assets and spatial dependence in the European regions
In the last decade there has been an upsurge of studies on international comparisons of Total Factor Productivity (TFP). The empirical evidence suggests that countries and regions differ not only in traditional factor endowments (labour and physical capital) but mainly in productivity and technology. Therefore, a crucial issue is the analysis of the determinants of such differences in the efficiency levels across economies. In this paper we try to assess these issues by pursuing a twofold aim. First, we derive a regression based measure of regional TFP which have the nice advantage of not imposing a priori restrictions on the inputs elasticities; this is done by estimating a Cobb-Douglas production function relationship for 199 European regions over the period 1985-2006, which includes the traditional inputs as well as a measure of spatial interdependences across regions. Secondly, we investigate the determinants of the TFP levels by analyzing the role played by intangible factors: human capital, social capital and technological capital. It turns out that a large part of TFP differences across the European regions are explained by the disparities in the endowments of such assets. This outcome indicates the importance of policy strategies which aim at increasing the level of knowledge and social capital as stressed by the Lisbon agenda. Estimation is carried out by applying the spatial 2SLS method and the SHAC estimator to account for both heteroskedasticity and spatial autocorrelation.
Total factor productivity; human capital; social capital; technology; Europe
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