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Revisiting recent productivity developments across OECD countries

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  • Bruno Tissot
  • Les Skoczylas
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    Abstract

    This paper compares productivity developments across industrial countries based on official OECD data in the business sector. It discusses the uncertainties surrounding the measurement of both productivity levels and productivity growth, and then focuses on changes in productivity growth. The paper analyses labour productivity patterns and trends of total factor productivity (TFP) across countries. The recent performance of the United States clearly stands out. In particular, the level of US labour productivity appears to be the highest among the major industrial countries and has been rising the fastest in the recent past. Despite substantial uncertainties surrounding these international comparisons, there is little doubt that the US performance has improved sharply in relative terms. Productivity has accelerated in the United States but decelerated in most other industrial economies. Indeed, only a few countries have experienced a structural improvement in their productivity performance over recent years. Moreover, rather than just reflecting stronger capital accumulation, the US performance has been associated with a higher rate of technological progress that was maintained during the latest recession. In contrast, the accumulation of capital has been quite strong in most other major industrial economies. This might be a source of concern in some places, given the observed trend decline in the rate of technical progress.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Bank for International Settlements in its series BIS Working Papers with number 182.

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    Length: 61 pages
    Date of creation: Sep 2005
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:bis:biswps:182

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    Related research

    Keywords: productivity; international comparisons; industrial countries; statistical uncertainty; technological progress; labour force; capital stock; time trend; business cycle;

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    References

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    1. Comin Diego A, 2006. "Using Investment Data to Assess the Importance of Price Mismeasurement," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, De Gruyter, vol. 6(1), pages 1-42, April.
    2. Nadim Ahmad & François Lequiller & Pascal Marianna & Dirk Pilat & Paul Schreyer & Anita Wölfl, 2003. "Comparing Labour Productivity Growth in the OECD Area: The Role of Measurement," OECD Science, Technology and Industry Working Papers 2003/14, OECD Publishing.
    3. Olivier Blanchard, 2004. "The Economic Future of Europe," NBER Working Papers 10310, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Charles Steindel, 2004. "The relationship between manufacturing production and goods output," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 10(Aug).
    5. Alain de Serres, 2003. "Structural Policies and Growth: A Non-Technical Overview," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 355, OECD Publishing.
    6. Christophe Kamps, 2004. "New Estimates of Government Net Capital Stocks for 22 OECD Countries 1960-2001," IMF Working Papers 04/67, International Monetary Fund.
    7. Dirk Pilat, 1996. "Labour Productivity Levels in OECD Countries: Estimates for Manufacturing and Selected Service Sectors," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 169, OECD Publishing.
    8. 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?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2021, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    9. Belorgey, Nicolas & Lecat, Remy & Maury, Tristan-Pierre, 2006. "Determinants of productivity per employee: An empirical estimation using panel data," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 153-157, May.
    10. Maury, P-M. & Pluyaud, B., 2004. "The Breaks in per Capita Productivity Trends in a Number of Industrial Countries," Working papers, Banque de France 111, Banque de France.
    11. Karl Aiginger, 2004. "The Economic Agenda: a View from Europe," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(2), pages 187-206, 05.
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    Cited by:
    1. Rannenberg, Ansgar, 2008. "Disinflation and the NAIRU in a New-Keynesian New-Growth Model," MPRA Paper 9753, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. George Furstenberg & Ulf Kalckreuth, 2006. "Dependence on External Finance: An Inherent Industry Characteristic?," Open Economies Review, Springer, Springer, vol. 17(4), pages 541-559, December.
    3. George M. von Furstenberg & Ulf von Kalckreuth, 2007. "Dependence on External Finance by Manufacturing Sector: Examining the Measure and its Properties," Economie Internationale, CEPII research center, issue 111, pages 55-80.
    4. Ansgar, Rannenberg, 2009. "Disinflation and the NAIRU in a New-Keynesian New-Growth Model (Extended Version)," MPRA Paper 13610, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Ansgar Rannenberg, 2009. "Shocks, Monetary Policy and Institutions: Explaining Unemployment Persistence in "Europe" and the United States," CDMA Working Paper Series 200903, Centre for Dynamic Macroeconomic Analysis.
    6. Gloria Alonso & Juan Nicolás Hernandez & José David Pulido & Martha Lucía Villa, . "Medidas alternativas de tasa de cambio real para Colombia," Borradores de Economia 514, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.

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