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A quality-adjusted labour input series for the United Kingdom (1975-2002)

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  • Venetia Bell
  • Pablo Burriel-Llombart
  • Jerry Jones

Abstract

In this paper, annual indices of labour input adjusted for the education, age and gender distributions of the UK workforce are presented for the period 1975-2002. These measures show that improvement in labour quality, as proxied by education, age and gender, has added on average 0.67 percentage points per year to the growth rate in total labour input. Changes in the education distribution more than account for the improvement in labour quality, adding 0.68 percentage points per annum. Changes in the age distribution have made a much smaller contribution, adding only 0.11 percentage points to the growth rate. The rise in female participation has had a small negative effect of 0.08 percentage points, as women have had a preference for part-time work, which tends to be paid less per hour than full-time jobs. Using this evidence, the key finding of this paper is that a large proportion of growth that is usually attributed to TFP (total factor productivity) growth can be accounted for by an improvement in the quality of labour input. This result has no implications for the measurement of UK GDP growth from 1975-2002, but it does help to identify more accurately the sources of that growth.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Bank of England in its series Bank of England working papers with number 280.

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Date of creation: Oct 2005
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Handle: RePEc:boe:boeewp:280

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  1. 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.
  2. David Card & Richard B. Freeman, 2004. "What Have Two Decades of British Economic Reform Delivered?," NBER Chapters, in: Seeking a Premier Economy: The Economic Effects of British Economic Reforms, 1980-2000, pages 9-62 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Katz, Lawrence F. & Autor, David H., 1999. "Changes in the wage structure and earnings inequality," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 26, pages 1463-1555 Elsevier.
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Cited by:
  1. McNamara, Paul E. & Ulimwengu, John M. & Leonard, Kenneth L., 2010. "Do health investments improve agricultural productivity?," IFPRI discussion papers 1012, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  2. Oulton, Nicholas, 2012. "Long term implications of the ICT revolution: Applying the lessons of growth theory and growth accounting," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 1722-1736.
  3. Nicholas Oulton, 2004. "A statistical framework for the analysis of productivity and sustainable development," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19963, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  4. Mauro Giorgio Marrano & Jonathan Haskel & Gavin Wallis, 2007. "What Happened to the Knowledge Economy? ICT, Intangible Investment and Britain's Productivity Record Revisited," Working Papers 603, Queen Mary, University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
  5. Nicholas Oulton, 2013. "Medium and Long Run Prospects for UK Growth in the Aftermath of the Financial Crisis," CEP Occasional Papers 37, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  6. Thomas Bolli & Mathias Zurlinden, 2009. "Measuring Growth of Labor Quality and the Quality-Adjusted Unemployment Rate in Switzerland," Applied Economics Quarterly (formerly: Konjunkturpolitik), Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 55(2), pages 121-145.
  7. Thomas Bolli & Mathias Zurlinden, 2008. "Measurement of labor quality growth caused by unobservable characteristics," KOF Working papers 08-203, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.

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