The U.S. Productivity Slowdown: A Case of Statistical Myopia
AbstractThis paper identifies three major periods: 1900-1929, 1929-1965, and 1965-1978. In contrast to the middle period, the extreme periods are characterized by rapid growth in private employment and hours worked; because growth in private productivity increases by less, measured labor productivity growth falls compared to the middle period. However this fall reflects a substantial substitution of quantity for quality in labor force growth: after private employment and hours are adjusted for age, sex, immigration, and education, no difference is observed among the average quality-adjusted labor productivity growth rates. Substantial variation in these growth rates remains within the 1929-1965 and 1965-1978 periods. Slow quality-adjusted labor productivity growth during 1929-1948 is just offset by unusually rapid growth during 1948-1965; these variations are attributed to the near cessation of investment during the Depression and World War II and subsequent recovery of the capital-labor ratio. Thus no substantial variations in total factor productivity growth or technical progress is found. Variations inproductivity growth within 1965-1978 are explained by price-control induced biases in reported deflated output. Correction of these biases results inequal quality-adjusted labor productivity growth in 1965-1973 and 1973-1978.A substantial program of future research is proposed. A data appendix is included.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.
Volume (Year): 74 (1984)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Other versions of this item:
- Michael R. Darby, 1982. "The U.S. Productivity Slowdown: A Case of Statistical Myopia," NBER Working Papers 1018, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Michael R. Darby, 1983. "The U.S. Productivity Slowdown: A Case of Statistical Myopia," UCLA Economics Working Papers 304, UCLA Department of Economics.
- Michael R. Darby, 1982. "The U.S. Productivity Slowdown: A Case of Statistical Myopia," UCLA Economics Working Papers 266, UCLA Department of Economics.
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- Boisso, Dale & Grosskopf, Shawna & Hayes, Kathy, 2000. "Productivity and efficiency in the US: effects of business cycles and public capital," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 663-681, December.
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- Palle S. Andersen, 1983. "The productivity slowdown and its policy implications," BIS Working Papers 8, Bank for International Settlements.
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- Lynne G. Zucker & Michael R. Darby & Marilynn B. Brewer, 1994. "Intellectual Capital and the Birth of U.S. Biotechnology Enterprises," NBER Working Papers 4653, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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