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The Role of Labor-Market Changes in the Slowdown of European Productivity

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Author Info

  • Ian Dew-Becker
  • Robert J. Gordon

Abstract

This paper is about the role of policy, institutions, and culture in creating a strong negative tradeoff between productivity and employment growth across groups of countries within Europe. Throughout the postwar era until 1995 labor productivity grew faster in Europe than in the United States. In the decade after 1995, productivity growth in the EU-15 slowed while that in the US accelerated. Europe’s productivity growth slowdown was largely offset by faster growth than the US in employment per capita, leaving little difference in growth of output per capita between the EU and US going back to 1980. We document the productivity-employment tradeoff in the raw data, in regressions that control for the two-way causation between productivity and employment growth, and we show that there is a robust negative correlation between productivity and employment growth across countries and time. We find that the negative effect of changes in employment per capita on changes in productivity is robust to alternative instruments and to the inclusion or exclusion of particular countries like Italy or Spain. We conclude by suggesting that evaluations of alternative policy reforms in Europe should take into account any offsetting effects on employment and productivity by examining the ultimate impact on changes in income per capita.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Università di Perugia in its journal Review of Economics and Institutions.

Volume (Year): 3 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages:

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Handle: RePEc:pia:review:v:3:y:2012:i:2:n:1

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Related research

Keywords: productivity; employment; productivity-employment tradeoff; european stagnation; mediterranean economies; labor market flexibility; european policy reforms; participation of women;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Raquel Ortega-Argilés, 2012. "The Transatlantic Productivity Gap: A Survey Of The Main Causes," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(3), pages 395-419, 07.
  2. repec:pra:mprapa:43050 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Lorenzo Codogno & Francesco Felici, . "Assessing Italy's Reform Challenges:What Do Growth Accounting and Structural Indicators Say?," Working Papers 8, Department of the Treasury, Ministry of the Economy and of Finance.
  4. Mirella Damiani & Fabrizio Pompei & Andrea Ricci, 2012. "Labour Shares and Employment Protection in European Economies," Quaderni del Dipartimento di Economia, Finanza e Statistica 111/2012, Università di Perugia, Dipartimento Economia, Finanza e Statistica.
  5. Andrea De Michelis & Marcello Estevão & Beth Anne Wilson, 2013. "Productivity or Employment: Is It a Choice?," International Productivity Monitor, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, vol. 25, pages 41-60, Spring.
  6. Nicholas Crafts, 2013. "Long-Term Growth in Europe: What Difference does the Crisis Make?," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 224(1), pages R14-R28, May.
  7. Fabian Bornhorst & Ashoka Mody, 2012. "Tests of German Resilience," IMF Working Papers 12/239, International Monetary Fund.
  8. Andrea De Michelis & Marcello M. Estevão & Beth Anne Wilson, 2013. "Productivity or Employment," IMF Working Papers 13/97, International Monetary Fund.
  9. Palazuelos, Enrique & Fernández, Rafael, 2009. "Demand, employment, and labour productivity in the European economies," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 1-15, March.
  10. Bornhorst, Fabian & Mody, Ashoka, 2012. "Test of the German resilience," CFS Working Paper Series 2012/14, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).

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