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Productivity Concepts, Trends And Prospects: An Overview

In: The Review of Economic Performance and Social Progress 2002: Towards a Social Understanding of Productivity

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Abstract

In this chapter, Andrew Sharpe provides a comprehensive non-technical introduction to the productivity issue, including discussion of productivity concepts, measurement issues, trends and prospects. He begins by noting that productivity is the relationship between the output of goods and services and the inputs of resources, both human and non-human used in their production. The measurement of productivity is fraught with conceptual and empirical issues, meaning that there can be a significant margin of error associated with productivity growth rates, even at the aggregate level. Sharpe identifies two particularly important measurement problems, namely the estimation of real output in the non-market sector where output is not measured independently of inputs and the estimation of price indices (which are needed to calculate real output) for products where quality has improved significantly or for new products (e.g. computers). According to Sharpe, the most important productivity trends that the general public should be aware of are: the post-1973 productivity slowdown; the postwar convergence in OECD productivity levels toward the US level; the post-1995 acceleration in labour productivity growth in the United States; the decline in Canada's relative international productivity ranking; and the widening of the Canada-US manufacturing productivity gap.

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This chapter was published in:
This item is provided by Centre for the Study of Living Standards & The Institutute for Research on Public Policy in its series The Review of Economic Performance and Social Progress with number v:2:y:2002:as.

Handle: RePEc:sls:repsls:v:2:y:2002:as

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Related research

Keywords: Productivity; Labour Productivity; Labor Productivity; Growth; Wages; Well-being; Wellbeing; Well Being; Canada; United States; Total Factor Productivity; Multifactor Productivity; Multi-factor Productivity; Levels; Measurement; Post-1995; Acceleration; Revisions; Statistical Revision; Quality Adjustment; Unemployment;

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Cited by:
  1. Centre for the Study of Living Standards, 2003. "An Analysis of Productivity Trends in the Forest Products Sector in Canada," CSLS Research Reports 2003-02b, Centre for the Study of Living Standards.
  2. Andrew Sharpe, 2002. "Raising Canadian Living Standards: A Framework for Analysis," International Productivity Monitor, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, vol. 5, pages 23-40, Fall.
  3. Centre for the Study of Living Standards, 2002. "Raising Canadian Living Standards: A Framework for Discussion," CSLS Research Reports 02td, Centre for the Study of Living Standards.
  4. Andrew Sharpe, 2007. "Three Policies to Improve Productivity Growth in Canada," CSLS Research Reports 2007-05, Centre for the Study of Living Standards.
  5. Gaëtan Nicodème & Jacques-Bernard Sauner-Leroy, 2004. "Product market reforms and productivity: a review of the theoretical and empirical literature on the transmission channels," Development and Comp Systems 0412014, EconWPA.
  6. Andrew Sharpe, 2003. "Why are Americans More Productive than Canadians?," International Productivity Monitor, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, vol. 6, pages 19-37, Spring.
  7. Centre for the Study of Living Standards, 2003. "Productivity Trends in Natural Resources Industries in Canada," CSLS Research Reports 2003-01, Centre for the Study of Living Standards.

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