The Micro-Dynamics of Catch Up in Indonesian Paper Manufacturing: An International Comparison of Plant-Level Performance

Michiel van Dijk & Adam Szirmai


In this study we analyze the micro-dynamics of catch up in Indonesian paper manufacturing using a two-country plant-level data set for the period 1975-1997. The Indonesian paper industry is selected as a case-study because it experienced spectacular investment and growth. It became one of the world's largest exporters and producers of paper in the world. We apply Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) to compare the technical efficiency of Indonesian paper mills with that of Finnish mills, which are considered to be the world technological leaders in paper making. We address three questions: What is the distribution of Indonesian plant performance vis-à-vis the technological frontier? What is the role of entry, exit and survival for catch up? What are the characteristics of catching-up plants? We find that on average the Indonesian paper industry moved closer to the technological frontier during the 1990s. However, catch up has been a highly localized process in which only a few large establishments have achieved near best-practice performance, while most other plants have stayed behind

JEL: 012, 047, L6

UNU-MERIT Working Papers ISSN 1871-9872

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