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Productivity Levels in Distributive Trades: A New ICOP Dataset for OECD Countries


Author Info

  • Timmer, Marcel P.
  • Ypma, Gerard

    (Groningen University)


This study provides a new dataset for international comparisons of labour productivity levels in distributive trade (retail and wholesale trade) between OECD countries. The productivity level comparisons are based on a harmonised set of Purchasing Power Parities (PPPs) for 1997 using the industry-of-origin approach as developed in the International Comparisons of Output and Productivity (ICOP) project. The methodology mimics current national accounts practice in measuring real output over time. The comparative estimates are extrapolated from the benchmark year using those national accounts series. The main finding of this study is that there is still a wide variety in labour productivity levels in the distribution sector across the OECD area. In 2002, the Germany, the Benelux and Scandinavian countries (except Sweden) were leading in terms of PPP-converted value added per hour worked with higher levels than in the U.S.. In Asia, the comparative labour productivity level is on average 39% of the U.S. level, whereas it is 48% on average in Eastern Europe. Within the ?old? EU-15, countries like Italy, Portugal, Spain and the U.K. had relative levels less than 70% of the U.S.. There is no clear sign of convergence in productivity levels among OECD countries during the past two decades.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Groningen Growth and Development Centre, University of Groningen in its series GGDC Research Memorandum with number GD-83.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:dgr:rugggd:gd-83

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Cited by:
  1. World Bank, 2013. "Measuring the Real Size of the World Economy : The Framework, Methodology, and Results of the International Comparison Program—ICP," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 13329, July.
  2. Hyvärinen, Jari, 2012. "Productivity: An International Comparison," Discussion Papers 1264, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
  3. Ben Dolman & Dean Parham & Simon Zheng, 2007. "Can Australia Match US Productivity Performance?," Staff Working Papers 0703, Productivity Commission, Government of Australia.
  4. Hoekman, Bernard & Mattoo, Aaditya, 2008. "Services trade and growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4461, The World Bank.
  5. Robert Inklaar & Marcel Timmer, 2008. "Accounting for growth in retail trade: an international productivity comparison," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 29(1), pages 23-31, February.
  6. Graeme Davis & Jyoti Rahman, 2006. "Perspectives on Australia's productivity prospects," Treasury Working Papers 2006-04, Treasury, Australian Government, revised Sep 2006.


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