Total factor productivity of the Latin-American industry: large shipbuilding in Peru

Jorge Benzaquen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to propose and analyze a model to obtain a total factor productivity of an industry through quantitative empirical analysis in order to determine the joint contribution of the production and technology function, and the change and technical progress. The case of the Peruvian large shipbuilding industry between the years 1969 and 1990 was considered for the analysis of the proposed model. The large shipbuilding in Peru finished in 1992 and has restarted in 2014. The importance of the study lies in the fact that the analysis is focused on an industry which is resurfacing, and in this regards, the study of the first production period will yield more and accurate information to make decisions regarding its future development. Design/methodology/approach: One way of considering the several effects of technical progress, in line with Sato (1970) such as growth and bias, is to specify a production function maintaining the linear homogeneity property, such as: Y(t)=F [A(t)K(t), B(t)L(t)], where Y(t) is the aggregate product over a period of time (t); K(t) is the capital; L(t) is the labor; and A(t) and B(t) are the efficiencies or augmentations of K(t) and L(t), respectively. Based on the regression analysis data, the value of σ can be estimated to a residual growth rate (Kennedy and Thirlwall, 1972) that allows assessing the technical knowledge that is not attributable to the factors’ efficiency grains: TCTR=Ṫ/T-(α(A/A)+β(Ḃ/B)). This last expression measures the residual technological growth rate (TCTR, by its Spanish acronym). Findings: The results of the analysis of the large shipbuilding at SIMA-Callao during the given period (22 years of operation, between 1969 and 1990) show that the necessary installed capacity and the technological knowledge was available in order to develop a complex industrial process in the South Pacific region, thus, contributing to the sector’s growth in the country. The evolution of the shipbuilding activities coincides with the GDP expansion and decline periods in Peru. According to the results, the total factor productivity increased during 1969-1976, 1979-1982, and 1986-1987 periods and it has been confirmed that the contribution of the efficiencies of the production factors were inversely related to the economies of scale and output growth. Practical implications: The analysis is based on the activities carried out throughout 22 years of operations in SIMA-Callao shipyards (1969-1990). The data regarding the product, labor, imported materials costs, local material costs, direct expenses, wages, and man-day costs was obtained from several sources within the shipyard. Direct expenses correspond to classification, inspections, administrative expenses (dock, quality control, equipment rental, etc.), drawings, technical data, insurance, and materials freight. Additionally, the sources of information are project construction contracts, annual expenses reports, and man-day cost quarterly reports of the shipbuilding area. The man-day cost includes salary, social benefits, and the company’s functional cost. Originality/value: There are different ways to obtain productivity index. In this case, the authors used the stated model. In addition, based on this experience, this can be applied to other industries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-250
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Productivity and Performance Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Shipbuilding
  • Technical change
  • Technical progress
  • Total factor productivity


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