PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2014, Vol. 33 ›› Issue (3): 399-410.doi: 10.11820/dlkxjz.2014.03.011

• Regional and Industrial Development • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Research progress in manufacturing industry productivity

LI Yan1, HE Canfei2,3   

  1. 1. China City Development Academy, Beijing 100088, China;
    2. College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China;
    3. Peking University-Lincoln Institute Center for Urban Development and Land Policy, Beijing 100871, China
  • Received:2013-08-01 Revised:2013-12-01 Published:2014-03-24
  • Contact: 贺灿飞(1972-),江西永新人,教授,主要从事经济地理、产业和区域经济研究,E-mail:。

Abstract: Productivity has always been one of the key research areas in both economics and geography, which relates to the source and quality of economic growth. In the paradigm of productivity research, manufacturing, as the core sector in the economic system, has attracted growing interests of scholars. China is currently experiencing a profound transformation from a big manufacturing country to a powerful manufacturing country. Manufacturing industry productivity has a great impact on the position of China in the global value chain. Against this background, this paper has provided a comprehensive review on manufacturing industry productivity research. The research on manufacturing productivity will lead to improving the efficiency of resource use and optimizing industrial distribution. The paper summarized the theoretical developments of manufacturing industry productivity research in different stages from three aspects: definition and research area, source of the productivity growth, and productivity growth path. The concept of manufacturing productivity can be discussed in two ways: single factor productivity and total factor productivity. Single factor productivity relates one input to outputs. Whereas, total factor productivity expresses the ratio of all outputs produced to all resources used. Based on Cobb-Douglas production function, capital and labor are the main dominant inputs of a production process taking technological improvements as exogenous assumption. With the development of the productivity study, the exogenous technological improvements assumption was break. The endogenous growth theory and the agglomeration theory emphasized the role of information spillover and externality. We generalized the contributing empirical research on manufacturing industry productivity. It's evident that fixed asset investment, foreign trade and export, foreign direct investment, institutional and policy environment, industrial agglomeration all affected manufacturing productivity. However, no unanimous conclusions have been obtained on how these factors impacted manufacturing productivity. One of the heated discussions is the relationship between export and manufacturing productivity. Some researchers found that exporting boosted firm productivity by expanding market opportunities, while others hold that only the most productive firms could become exporting enterprises. Compared with the empirical research in the West, we found that the factors influencing manufacturing productivity in China were more complicated in the Chinese economic environment. In general, the manufacturing productivity research in China has made remarkable progress especially in the aspect of empirical research. However, it lacked localized theoretical system, and was short of attention to the unique historical, geographic and policy background of manufacturing industry in China. Therefore, the manufacturing industry productivity research in China could more focus on the following aspects in the future: (1) constructing localized theoretical framework that is suitable for manufacturing industry productivity research in China; (2) exploring the spatial and industrial heterogeneity of manufacturing industry productivity by introducing multiple spatial analysis methods; and (3) regional manufacturing structure shift and productivity evolution under the background of the global industrial chain division and the domestic and international industry shift. Research on Chinese manufacturing productivity is useful for enhancing the competitiveness of the manufacturing industry in China.

Key words: growth path, manufacturing industry, productivity, research progress

CLC Number: 

  • F404.3