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Analysing the contribution of business services to European economic growth

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  • Kox, Henk L.M.
  • Rubalcaba, Luis

Abstract

The sector business services contributes directly and indirectly to aggregate economic growth in Europe. The direct contribution comes from the sector’s own dynamism. Though the business-services industry appears to be characterised by strong cyclical volatility, there was also a strong structural growth. Business services actually generated more than half of total net employment growth in the European Union since the second half of the 1990s. Apart from this direct growth contribution, the sector also contributed in an indirect way to economic growth by generating knowledge and productivity spill-overs for other industries. The knowledge role of business services is reflected in its employment characteristics. The business-services industry created spill-overs in three ways: original innovations, knowledge diffusion, and the reduction of human capital indivisibilities at firm level. The share of knowledge-intensive business services in the intermediate inputs of the total economy has risen sharply in the last decade. Firm-level scale diseconomies with regard to knowledge and skill inputs are reduced by external deliveries of such inputs, thereby exploiting positive external scale economies. The process goes along with an increasingly complex social division of labour between economic sectors. The European business-services industry itself is characterised by a relatively weak productivity growth. Does this contribute to growth stagnation tendencies à la the so-called “Baumol disease”? The paper argues that there is no reason to expect this as long as the productivity and growth spill-overs from business services to other sectors are large enough. Finally, the paper concludes by suggesting several policy elements that could boost the role of business services in European economic growth. This might to achieve some of the ambitious Lisbon goals with respect to employment, productivity and innovation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 2003.

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Date of creation: Feb 2007
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:2003

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Keywords: business services; structural change; economic growth; Europe; services; productivity;

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References

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  1. Baumol, William J, 1972. "Macroeconomics of Unbalanced Growth: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(1), pages 150, March.
  2. Luis Rubalcaba, 2007. "Services in European Policies," Bruges European Economic Policy Briefings 16, European Economic Studies Department, College of Europe.
  3. Antonelli, Cristiano, 2001. "The Microeconomics of Technological Systems," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199245536.
  4. Arnold, Jens & Mattoo, Aaditya & Smarzynska Javorcik, Beata, 2006. "Does Services Liberalization Benefit Manufacturing Firms?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5902, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Curtis Eaton, B. & Lipsey, Richard G., 1989. "Product differentiation," Handbook of Industrial Organization, in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 12, pages 723-768 Elsevier.
  6. Kox, Henk L.M. & Rubalcaba, Luis, 2007. "Analysing the contribution of business services to European economic growth," MPRA Paper 2003, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Neil M. Coe, 2000. "The Externalisation of Producer Services Debate: The UK Computer Services Sector," The Service Industries Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(2), pages 64-81, April.
  8. Burda, Michael C. & Dluhosch, Barbara, 2001. "Cost competition, fragmentation and globalization," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 2001,40, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
  9. Jacques De Bandt, 1999. "The Concept of Labour and Competence Requirements in a Service Economy," The Service Industries Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(1), pages 1-17, January.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Rinaldo Evangelista & Matteo Lucchese & Valentina Meliciani, 2013. "The contribution of Business services to the export performances of manufacturing industries. An empirical study on 5 European countries," Working Papers 14, Birkbeck Centre for Innovation Management Research, revised Nov 2013.
  2. Davide Arduini & Antonello Zanfei, 2011. "What do we know from the literature on public e-services?," Working Papers 1111, University of Urbino Carlo Bo, Department of Economics, Society & Politics - Scientific Committee - L. Stefanini & G. Travaglini, revised 2011.
  3. André Lorentz & Maria Savona, 2007. "Evolutionary Micro-dynamics and Changes in the Economic Structure," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2007-17, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group.
  4. Luis Rubalcaba, 2007. "Services in European Policies," Bruges European Economic Policy Briefings 16, European Economic Studies Department, College of Europe.
  5. Davide CASTELLANI & Valentina MELICIANI & Loredana Mirra, 2012. "The determinants of inward foreign direct investment in business services across european regions," Quaderni del Dipartimento di Economia, Finanza e Statistica 104/2012, Università di Perugia, Dipartimento Economia, Finanza e Statistica.
  6. Francesco Bogliacino & Matteo Lucchese & Mario Pianta, 2011. "Job creation in business services:Innovation, Demand, Polarisation," Working Papers 1107, University of Urbino Carlo Bo, Department of Economics, Society & Politics - Scientific Committee - L. Stefanini & G. Travaglini, revised 2011.
  7. Faïz Gallouj & Maria Savona, 2009. "Innovation in services: a review of the debate and a research agenda," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 149-172, April.
  8. Davide Arduini & Antonello Zanfei, 2012. "An overview of existing literature on public e-services," Working Papers 1214, University of Urbino Carlo Bo, Department of Economics, Society & Politics - Scientific Committee - L. Stefanini & G. Travaglini, revised 2012.
  9. Henk Kox & Luis Rubalcaba, 2007. "Analysing the Contribution of Business Services to European Economic Growth," Bruges European Economic Research Papers 9, European Economic Studies Department, College of Europe.
  10. Valentina Meliciani & Maria Savona, 2011. "The Determinants of Regional Specialisation in Business Services: Agglomeration Economies, Vertical Linkages and Innovation," SPRU Working Paper Series 193, SPRU - Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex.
  11. Jacques Pelkmans, 2008. "Economic Approaches of the Internal Market," Bruges European Economic Research Papers 13, European Economic Studies Department, College of Europe.

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