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The Breaks in per Capita Productivity Trends in a Number of Industrial Countries

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  • Maury, P-M.
  • Pluyaud, B.

Abstract

The purpose of this article is to study the trends in per capita productivity in several major industrialised countries. The analysis is first based on annual data over a long period spanning the entire 20th century for the United States, France and the United Kingdom. Productivity trends are then studied over a shorter period, using quarterly data, for the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Japan and the Netherlands. There are already a large number of studies of this kind, but they are too often focused on presenting average productivity growth rates for given periods chosen on an ad hoc basis. In this article, we use a robust statistical method to endogenously identify possible breaks in per capita productivity trends. This method, developed by Bai and Perron (1998), brings out the following salient features: – in the United States, per capita productivity growth accelerated following the trend break at the start of the 1920s, then slowed down at the end of the 1960s. This finding is in line with the “Big Wave” concept developed by Gordon (1999, 2002) to describe the trends in US productivity growth throughout the 20 th century. – French and UK productivity started catching up with that in the United States around the end of the Second World War. – Most of the countries under review recorded slower trend productivity growth in the first half of the 1970s. In the United States, this break occurred in 1966. This finding differs from that of other existing analyses, which point to 1974. – Trend productivity growth in Europe and Japan slowed in the 1990s, whereas US productivity gained momentum over the same period.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Banque de France in its series Working papers with number 111.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bfr:banfra:111

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Related research

Keywords: Productivity trends ; Structural breaks ; Bai and Perron method;

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References

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  1. Andrews, Donald W K, 1993. "Tests for Parameter Instability and Structural Change with Unknown Change Point," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(4), pages 821-56, July.
  2. Perron, P. & Bai, J., 1995. "Estimating and Testing Linear Models with Multiple Structural Changes," Cahiers de recherche 9552, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
  3. Bernard, Andrew B & Jones, Charles I, 1996. "Comparing Apples to Oranges: Productivity Convergence and Measurement across Industries and Countries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1216-38, December.
  4. Susanto Basu & John G. Fernald & Matthew D. Shapiro, 2001. "Productivity Growth in the 1990s: Technology, Utilization, or Adjustment?," NBER Working Papers 8359, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Gust, Christopher & Marquez, Jaime, 2004. "International comparisons of productivity growth: the role of information technology and regulatory practices," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 33-58, February.
  6. Stephen Broadberry & Nicholas Crafts, 2003. "UK productivity performance from 1950 to 1979: a restatement of the Broadberry-Crafts view ," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 56(4), pages 718-735, November.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Mésonnier, J-S. & Renne, J-P., 2004. "A Time-Varying Natural Rate for the Euro Area," Working papers 115, Banque de France.
  2. Bruno Tissot & Les Skoczylas, 2005. "Revisiting recent productivity developments across OECD countries," BIS Working Papers 182, Bank for International Settlements.
  3. Clément Bosquet & Michel Fouquin, 2009. "Labour Productivity: the End of Convergence?," Economie et Statistique, Institut National de la Statistique et des Etudes Economiques, vol. 419, pages 125-142, August.
  4. van Norden, Simon, 2011. "Current trends in the analysis of Canadian productivity growth," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 5-25, January.
  5. Clément Bosquet & Michel Fouquin, 2009. "Productivité du travail : les divergences entre pays développés sont-elles durables," Working Papers 2009-02, CEPII research center.
  6. Richard Dion & Robert Fay, 2008. "Understanding Productivity: A Review of Recent Technical Research," Discussion Papers 08-3, Bank of Canada.
  7. Mesonnier, Jean-Stephane & Renne, Jean-Paul, 2007. "A time-varying "natural" rate of interest for the euro area," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(7), pages 1768-1784, October.

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