Skew Productivity Distributions and Agglomeration: Evidence from Plant-Level Data

Toshihiro Okubo, Eiichi Tomiura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Regional Studies. This paper empirically examines how the shapes of plant productivity distributions vary across regions based on Japan's manufacturing census. It focuses on the skewness to examine the asymmetry by estimating the gamma distribution at the plant level. By linking the estimated shape parameters with economic geography variables, it is found that the productivity distribution tends to be significantly left skewed, especially in cores, regions with diversified industrial compositions, regions with weak market potential and in agglomerated industries. These findings suggest that agglomeration economies are likely to accommodate heterogeneous plants with wide ranges of productivities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1514-1528
Number of pages15
JournalRegional Studies
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Sept


  • Agglomeration
  • Heterogeneity
  • Plant-level data
  • Productivity
  • Skewness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)


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