Staff Working Paper No. 842
By Nikola Dacic and Marko Melolinna
We study the effects of firm-level microeconomic fluctuations on aggregate productivity in the United Kingdom. We show that a standard measure of residual productivity growth of the largest UK firms (the ‘granular residual’) produces results that are counter-intuitive and not statistically significant. To combat this, we introduce a unique production function approach to estimate firm-specific technology shocks, accounting for firm-level heterogeneity and common shocks. Using this measure, we find that firm-level shocks matter; the ‘granular residual’ explains around 30% of aggregate UK productivity dynamics. We also show that simplifications of our approach, which omit controlling for firm-level heterogeneity or do not account for common shocks, do not perform well, highlighting the importance of identifying firm-specific shocks correctly in order to properly test the ‘granularity hypothesis’.