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Labour Productivity: the End of Convergence?


Author Info

  • Clément Bosquet

    (Université de la Méditerranée (Greqam), CEPII)

  • Michel Fouquin

    (Université de la Méditerranée (Greqam), CEPII)


Between 1950 and 1973, labour productivity was converging between the United States and western Europe and Japan. The convergence gradually lost momentum and has ceased altogether since 1995. To explain the reasons for the interruption, we first use the econometric tests developed by Bai and Perron to determine the trend-break dates. Labour productivity growth quickened in the U.S. from 1992, but slowed in most European countries. Technological progress driven by the expansion of information and communication technologies (ICTs) partly explains the revival of labour productivity in the U.S., but is inconsistent with the slowdown in labour productivity growth in Europe. While Europes ICT investment rate was lower than that of the U.S., it did rise significantly. A key explanation lies in the intensity of the job content of growth. The latter has declined sharply in the U.S. but grown substantially in Europe, reducing mass unemployment.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Institut National de la Statistique et des Etudes Economiques in its journal Economie et Statistique.

Volume (Year): 419-420 (2009)
Issue (Month): (August)
Pages: 125-142

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Handle: RePEc:crs:ecosta:es419-420g

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Related research

Keywords: Labor Productivity; Growth Accounting for Developed Countries; Technological Change; Convergence;

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  1. Mankiw, N Gregory & Romer, David & Weil, David N, 1992. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 407-37, May.
  2. Maury, P-M. & Pluyaud, B., 2004. "The Breaks in per Capita Productivity Trends in a Number of Industrial Countries," Working papers, Banque de France 111, Banque de France.
  3. Johanna Melka & Laurence Nayman, 2004. "TIC et productivite : une comparaison internationale," Economie Internationale, CEPII research center, CEPII research center, issue 98, pages 35-57.
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