2020/36 LEM Working Paper Series

Distant but close in sight. Firm-level evidence on French-German productivity gaps in manufacturing

Thomas Grebel, Mauro Napoletano and Lionel Nesta
International productivity gaps; productivity distributions; firm level comparisons.

  JEL Classifications
L10, N10, D24
We study the productivity level distributions of manufacturing firms in France and Germany, and how these distributions evolved across the Great Recession. We show the presence of a systematic productivity advantage of German firms over French ones in the decade 2003-2013, but the gap has narrowed down after the Great Recession. Convergence is explained by the better growth performance of French firms in the post-recession period, especially of those located in the top percentiles of the productivity distribution. We also highlight the role of sectoral growth, firm size and export intensity in explaining the above convergence. In contrast, the contribution of allocative efficiency was small.
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