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The Early 21st Century U.S. Productivity Expansion is Still in Services

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  • Barry P. Bosworth
  • Jack E. Triplett

Abstract

Labour productivity in the U.S. non-farm business sector grew two and a half per cent per year during the 1995-2005 period, nearly double its growth rate over the previous two decades. Services sector labour productivity (LP) and multifactor productivity (MFP) grew more rapidly and substantially exceeded productivity accelerations in the goods sector. We show that the services sector accounted for three-quarters of U.S. MFP growth after 1995, and within services the contribution of MFP to LP growth exceeded the vaunted contribution of IT investment. We also find that the services sector has become even more important as the primary source of sustained productivity growth after 2000. In this study, we compute LP, MFP and contributions to growth accounts for 57 industries within the goods and services sectors, using the new NAICS-based data set. We also show that resource reallocations, which are a newly important factor in productivity analysis, have changed the relation between increases in industry productivity growth rates and aggregate and sector growth rates in surprising ways.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Centre for the Study of Living Standards in its journal International Productivity Monitor.

Volume (Year): 14 (2007)
Issue (Month): (Spring)
Pages: 3-19

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Handle: RePEc:sls:ipmsls:v:14:y:2007:1

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Related research

Keywords: Labour productivity; Multifactor productivity; Service sector; Resource reallocations.;

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References

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  1. Basu, Susanto & Inklaar, Robert & Wang, J. Christina, 2008. "The Value of Risk: Measuring the Service Output of U.S. Commercial Banks," GGDC Research Memorandum GD-102, Groningen Growth and Development Centre, University of Groningen.
  2. Susanto Basu & John Fernald, 2007. "Information and Communications Technology as a General-Purpose Technology: Evidence from US Industry Data," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 8, pages 146-173, 05.
  3. Thomas N. Hubbard, 2003. "Information, Decisions, and Productivity: On-Board Computers and Capacity Utilization in Trucking," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1328-1353, September.
  4. James A. Kahn & Kevin Stiroh, 2002. "Productivity Growth: A New Era?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(2), pages 237-242, April.
  5. Barry P. Bosworth & Jack E. Triplett, 2007. "Services Productivity in the United States: Griliches," NBER Chapters, in: Hard-to-Measure Goods and Services: Essays in Honor of Zvi Griliches, pages 413-447 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Carol Corrado & Charles Hulten & Daniel Sichel, 2006. "Intangible capital and economic growth," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2006-24, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  7. Carol Corrado & John Haltiwanger & Dan Sichel, 2005. "Measuring Capital in the New Economy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number corr05-1.
  8. Susanto Basu & John G. Fernald & Nicholas Oulton & Sylaja Srinivasan, 2004. "The Case of the Missing Productivity Growth, or Does Information Technology Explain Why Productivity Accelerated in the United States But Not in the United Kingdom?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2003, Volume 18, pages 9-82 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Susanto Basu & John G. Fernald & Nicholas Oulton & Sylaja Srinivasan, 2003. "The case of the missing productivity growth: or, does information technology explain why productivity accelerated in the United States but not the United Kingdom?," Working Paper Series WP-03-08, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  10. Griliches, Zvi, 1994. "Productivity, R&D, and the Data Constraint," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 1-23, March.
  11. Kevin J. Stiroh, 2001. "Information technology and the U.S. productivity revival: what do the industry data say?," Staff Reports 115, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  12. Brian C. Moyer & Marshall B. Reinsdorf & Robert E. Yuskavage, 2006. "Aggregation Issues in Integrating and Accelerating the BEA," NBER Chapters, in: A New Architecture for the U.S. National Accounts, pages 263-287 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Erik Brynjolfsson & Lorin M. Hitt, 2000. "Beyond Computation: Information Technology, Organizational Transformation and Business Performance," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 23-48, Fall.
  14. Berndt, Ernst R & Wood, David O, 1975. "Technology, Prices, and the Derived Demand for Energy," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 57(3), pages 259-68, August.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Maroto-Sánchez, Andrés & Cuadrado-Roura, Juan R., 2009. "Is growth of services an obstacle to productivity growth? A comparative analysis," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 254-265, December.
  2. Hiroaki Sasaki, 2010. "Endogenous Phase Switch in Baumol’s Service Paradox Model," Discussion papers e-10-010, Graduate School of Economics Project Center, Kyoto University.
  3. Stephen D. Oliner & Daniel E. Sichel & Kevin J. Stiroh, 2007. "Explaining a Productive Decade," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 38(1), pages 81-152.
  4. Mizobuchi, Hideyuki, 2011. "The returns to scale effect in labour productivity growth," MPRA Paper 31152, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Dumagan, Jesus C., 2013. "Relative Price Effects on Decompositions of Change in Aggregate Labor Productivity," Discussion Papers DP 2013-44, Philippine Institute for Development Studies.
  6. Sasaki, Hiroaki, 2012. "Endogenous phase switch in Baumol's service paradox model," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 25-35.
  7. Bert Balk, 2014. "Dissecting aggregate output and labour productivity change," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 42(1), pages 35-43, August.

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