(Mis)matching to Good Suppliers: Evidence from Transactions Microdata

Joint work with Alonso Alfaro-Ureña and Jose Vasquez. New version coming soon.

Abstract. Using administrative data for the universe of firm-to-firm transactions in Costa Rica, we study the role and prevalence of “good suppliers”, defined as those upstream firms that provide better, more valuable inputs to their downstream buyers. We then investigate the frictions that might prevent buyers from matching with good suppliers and thus become more productive. Our analysis proceeds in three phases. First, we adapt standard machine learning techniques to the estimation of production functions with many inputs in order to identify the good suppliers in the economy. Next, we quantify the frictions that may preclude buyers from matching with the good suppliers. We do so by empirically estimating a production network formation model through a conditional likelihood approach specifically suited to this problem. Finally, we perform economy-wide counterfactual simulations of industrial policies aimed at supporting good suppliers. The objective of this paper is to study matching distortions in input markets as a microeconomic origin of misallocation in developing economies and to suggest adequate policy responses.

Preliminary and incomplete draft available on request.