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Drift and breaks in labor productivity

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  • Benati, Luca

Abstract

We use tests for multiple breaks at unknown points in the sample, and the Stock-Watson (1996, 1998) time-varying parameters median-unbiased estimation methodology, to investigate changes in the equilibrium rate of growth of labor productivity–both per hour and per worker–in the United States, the Eurozone Australia, and Japan over the post-WWII era. Results for the U.S. well capture the 'conventional wisdom’ of a golden era of high productivity growth, the 1950s and 1960s; a marked deceleration starting from the beginning of the 1970s; and a strong growth resurgence starting from mid-1990s. Interestingly, evidence suggests the 1990s’ productivity acceleration to have reached a plateau over the last few years. Results for the Eurozone point towards a marked deceleration since the beginning of the 1980s, with the equilibrium rate of growth of output per hour falling to 0.9% in 2004:4. Results based on Cochrane’s variance ratio estimator suggest a non-negligible fraction of the quarter-on-quarter change in labor productivity growth to be permanent. From a technical point of view, we propose a new method for constructing confidence intervals for variance ratio estimates based on spectral bootstrapping. Preliminary Monte Carlo evidence suggests such a method to possess good coverage properties.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control.

Volume (Year): 31 (2007)
Issue (Month): 8 (August)
Pages: 2847-2877

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Handle: RePEc:eee:dyncon:v:31:y:2007:i:8:p:2847-2877

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Cited by:
  1. Menzie D. Chinn & Laurent Ferrara & Valérie Mignon, 2013. "Post-recession US Employment through the Lens of a Non-linear Okun’s law," NBER Working Papers 19047, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Juan F. Jimeno & Esther Moral & Lorena Saiz, 2006. "Structural breaks in labor productivity growth: the United States vs. the European Union," Banco de Espa�a Working Papers 0625, Banco de Espa�a.
  3. Peter McAdam & Alpo Willman, 2012. "Technology, Utilization and Inflation: What Drives the New Keynesian Phillips Curve?," School of Economics Discussion Papers 0912, School of Economics, University of Surrey.
  4. Benati, Luca & Goodhart, Charles, 2007. "Investigating time-variation in the marginal predictive power of the yield spread," Working Paper Series 0802, European Central Bank.
  5. Richard Dion & Robert Fay, 2008. "Understanding Productivity: A Review of Recent Technical Research," Discussion Papers 08-3, Bank of Canada.
  6. Cliff L. F. Attfield & Jonathan R. W. Temple, 2006. "Balanced growth and the great ratios: new evidence for the US and UK," Centre for Growth and Business Cycle Research Discussion Paper Series 75, Economics, The Univeristy of Manchester.
  7. Georgiadis, Georgios, 2012. "Towards an explanation of cross-country asymmetries in monetary transmission," Discussion Papers 07/2012, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
  8. Benati, Luca & Mumtaz, Haroon, 2007. "U.S. evolving macroeconomic dynamics: a structural investigation," Working Paper Series 0746, European Central Bank.

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