Capital Shallowness: A Problem for New Zealand?
AbstractThere is now substantial evidence that New Zealand’s overall rate of economic growth relative to Australia’s has been lower in part because of lower levels and slower growth in our labour productivity. This then requires us to explore why the labour productivity is lower in New Zealand. This paper explores the extent to which a lower level of capital per hour worked (or lower capital intensity) is associated with less output per hour worked in New Zealand. We find that the capital intensity in New Zealand has not been increasing as fast as in Australia for nearly 25 years. Between 1995 and 2002, lower capital intensity explains 70 percent of the difference in output per hour worked. Whereas the cost of labour relative to capital has been rising in Australia, it has fallen by 20 percent in New Zealand between 1987 and 2002. The relative price of labour to capital in New Zealand fell to 60 percent of the Australian value in 2002 after being comparable in the late 1980’s. It is to be expected that New Zealand enterprises would therefore tend to adopt less capital intensive production methods. Differences in capital intensity could also have arisen because the underlying production technologies are different even if the relative prices of labour and capital in the two economies had been similar. We explore this issue and find a similar response of capital intensity to changes in the wage rate relative to the return on capital for the economies as a whole. However when we exclude the mining sector we find that the responsiveness in New Zealand is about one half that of Australia. Whether there are impediments or greater uncertainty in New Zealand that limit the ability of firms to respond to economic signals as much as their Australian counterparts remain as possible explanations requiring further investigation.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by New Zealand Treasury in its series Treasury Working Paper Series with number 05/05.
Length: 51 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2005
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: New Zealand Treasury, PO Box 3724, Wellington, New Zealand
Phone: +64-4-472 2733
Fax: +64-4-473 0982
Web page: http://www.treasury.govt.nz
More information through EDIRC
New Zealand; Australia; Capital-labour ratios; relative factor prices;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Capital; Investment; Capacity
- E23 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Production
- E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution
- O49 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Other
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Erwin Diewert & Denis Lawrence, 1999. "Measuring New Zealand’s Productivity," Treasury Working Paper Series 99/05, New Zealand Treasury.
- Kam Leong Szeto, 2001. "An Econometric Analysis of a Production Function for New Zealand," Treasury Working Paper Series 01/31, New Zealand Treasury.
- Johnson, R W M, 1972. "Efficiency Growth in N. Z. Agriculture: A Review," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 48(121), pages 76-91, March.
- Sebastián Claro, 2003.
"A Cross-Country Estimation of the Elasticity of Substitution between Labor and Capital in Manufacturing Industries,"
Latin American Journal of Economics-formerly Cuadernos de Economía,
Instituto de Economía. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile., vol. 40(120), pages 239-257.
- SebastiÃ¡n Claro, 2002. "A Cross-Country Estimation of the Elasticity of Substitution between Labor and Capital in Manufacturing Industries," Documentos de Trabajo 226, Instituto de Economia. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile..
- Jorgenson, Dale W & Fraumeni, Barbara M, 1992. " Investment in Education and U.S. Economic Growth," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 94(0), pages S51-70, Supplemen.
- Someshwar Rao & Jianmin Tang & Weimin Wang, 2003. "Canada's Recent Productivity Record and Capital Accumulation," International Productivity Monitor, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, vol. 7, pages 24-38, Fall.
- Dale W. Jorgenson & Barbara M. Fraumeni, 1992.
"The Output of the Education Sector,"
in: Output Measurement in the Service Sectors, pages 303-341
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Jorgenson, D.W. & Fraumeni, B.M., 1991. "The Output Of The Education Sector," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1543, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- Douglas Gollin, 2002.
"Getting Income Shares Right,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(2), pages 458-474, April.
- Edward J. Balistreri & Christine A. McDaniel & Eina Vivian Wong, 2003. "An Estimation of U.S. Industry-Level Capital-Labor Substitution," Computational Economics 0303001, EconWPA.
- Trinh Le & John Gibson & Les Oxley, 2006. "A Forward-Looking Measure Of The Stock Of Human Capital In New Zealand," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 74(5), pages 593-609, 09.
- Razzak, Weshah, 2008. "On The dynamic of search, matching and productivity in New Zealand and Australia," MPRA Paper 8262, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Richard Dion & Robert Fay, 2008. "Understanding Productivity: A Review of Recent Technical Research," Discussion Papers 08-3, Bank of Canada.
- Aaron Drew, 2007. "New Zealand's productivity performance and prospects," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Bulletin, Reserve Bank of New Zealand, vol. 70, March.
- Edda Claus & ris Claus, 2007.
"Transmitting shocks to the economy: The contribution of interest and exchange rates and the credit channel,"
The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series
- Edda Claus & Iris Claus, 2007. "Transmitting Shocks To The Economy: The Contribution Of Interest And Exchange Rates And The Credit Channel," CAMA Working Papers 2007-03, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
- Stephenson, John & Yang, Qing, 2011. "Industry productivity and the Australia-New Zealand income gap," NZIER Working Paper 2011/3, New Zealand Institute of Economic Research.
- Razzak, W A, 2010.
"A contribution towards New Zealand's tax reform,"
25680, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Sep 2010.
- Claus, Iris, 2011.
"Inside the black box: How important is the credit channel relative to the interest and exchange rate channels?,"
Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 1-12.
- Claus, Iris, 2011. "Inside the black box: How important is the credit channel relative to the interest and exchange rate channels?," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 28(1-2), pages 1-12, January.
- Claus, Iris, 2011. "The effects of asymmetric information between borrowers and lenders in an open economy," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 796-816, September.
- Laabas, Belkacem & Weshah, Razzak, 2011. "Economic Growth and The Quality of Human Capital," MPRA Paper 28727, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Geoff Mason & Matthew Osborne, 2007. "Productivity, Capital-Intensity and Labour Quality at Sector Level in New Zealand and the UK," Treasury Working Paper Series 07/01, New Zealand Treasury.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Web and Publishing Team, The Treasury).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.