Empirical factor demands and flexible functional forms: a Bayesian approach

Authors: Manera M., Sitzia B.

Journal: Economic Systems Research

Publisher: Routledge

Year: 2005

Volume: 17

Pages: 59-77

Keywords: Factor demands; Flexible functional forms; Calibration; Bayesian inference

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09535310500034333



In this paper we compare classical econometrics, calibration and Bayesian inference in the context of the empirical analysis of factor demands. Our application is based on a popular flexible functional form for the firm's cost function, namely Diewert's Generalized Leontief function, and uses the well-known Berndt and Wood 1947-1971 KLEM data on the US manufacturing sector. We illustrate how the Gibbs sampling methodology can be easily used to calibrate parameter values and elasticities on the basis of previous knowledge from alternative studies on the same data, but with different functional forms. We rely on a system of mixed non-informative diffuse priors for some key parameters and informative tight priors for others. Within the Gibbs sampler, we employ rejection sampling to incorporate parameter restrictions, which are suggested by economic theory but in general rejected by economic data. Our results show that values of those parameters that relate to non-informative priors are almost equal to the standard SUR estimates, whereas differences come out for those parameters to which we have assigned informative priors. Moreover, discrepancies can be appreciated in some crucial parameter estimates obtained with or without rejection sampling.