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Recent Trends and Structural Breaks in US and EU15 Labour Productivity Growth


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  • Laure Turner
  • Hervé Boulhol


This paper examines shifts in labour productivity growth in the United States and in Europe between 1970 and 2007 based on econometric tests of structural breaks. Additionally, it makes use of time-series-based projected labour productivity growth up to 2009 in order to detect any recent break according to a central scenario as well as high and low scenarios, both derived from a 95% confidence interval. The identification of structural breaks in US labour productivity growth is far from obvious. A statistically significant break date is found in the late 1990s only if the upper scenario materialises in the future, which means that despite a clear pick-up in productivity growth in the second half of the 1990s, the size of the hump is not still large enough compared with past variation to make this change a statistically significant break. However, a significant breakpoint is detected in the mid-1990s for the difference in labour productivity growth between the United States and the EU15 based on observed data, which seems to be due to both the initial catch-up of Europe and the halt of the convergence process in the mid-1990s. Finally, European ICT-intensive countries are shown to have structurally performed better in terms of productivity growth than non-ICT-intensive countries. Tendances récentes et ruptures structurelles de la croissance de la productivité du travail aux États-Unis et dans UE15 Ce papier étudie les changements structurels dans la croissance de productivité du travail aux États-Unis et en Europe entre 1970 et 2007 à partir de tests de rupture de tendance. Il incorpore également des prévisions de la croissance de la productivité du travail jusqu’en 2009 afin de détecter des ruptures récentes selon un scénario central, ainsi que haut et bas tous deux définis à partir d’un intervalle de confiance à 95%. Premièrement, l’identification de ruptures structurelles dans la croissance de la productivité du travail aux États-Unis ne va pas de soi. Une rupture à la fin des années 1990 est mise en évidence seulement si le scenario haut est amené à se réaliser dans le futur, ce qui signifie que malgré la réelle hausse de la croissance de la productivité américaine dans la seconde moitié des années 1990, seuls des chiffres à venir élevés feraient de ce changement une rupture statistiquement significative au regard des variations passées. Cependant, sur la période observée, la différence entre les taux de croissance américain et européen de la productivité du travail présente une rupture significative au milieu des années 1990, qui semble due au rattrapage de l’Europe et à l’arrêt de la convergence au milieu des années 1990. Enfin, les pays Européens dont l’accumulation de capital dans les TIC a été plus intensive ont eu une croissance de la productivité structurellement plus forte que les pays dont l’investissement a été moindre.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Economics Department Working Papers with number 628.

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Date of creation: 04 Aug 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:628-en

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Keywords: ICT; labour productivity growth; structural break tests; TIC; croissance de la productivité du travail; tests de rupture structurelle;

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Cited by:
  1. Menzie D. Chinn & Laurent Ferrara & Valérie Mignon, 2013. "Post-recession US Employment through the Lens of a Non-linear Okun’s law," NBER Working Papers 19047, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Raquel Ortega-Argilés & Mariacristina Piva & Marco Vivarelli, 2012. "The transatlantic productivity gap: Is R&D the main culprit?," DISCE - Quaderni del Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali dises1284, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimenti e Istituti di Scienze Economiche (DISCE).


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