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A comparison of structural productivity levels in the major industrialised countries

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  • Bourlès, Renaud
  • Cette, Gilbert

Abstract

Hourly labour productivity levels in a number of European countries are thought to be very close to, or possibly even higher than the level ‘observed’ in the United States. At the same time, however, there are big differentials between hours worked and/or employment rates in these countries and in the United States. Frequent mention is also made of the theory of diminishing returns to hours worked and the employment rate. The object of the analysis proposed here is to adjust the ‘observed’ levels of hourly productivity for the effect of the differentials (with the United States) in the hours worked and/or employment rates of several categories of the population of working age in order to calculate ‘structural’ hourly productivity. The results obtained confirm the diminishing returns to hours worked and the employment rate (especially where young and elderly people are concerned). The level of ‘structural’ hourly productivity appears to be highest in the United States, suggesting that the differential between per capita GDP in the European countries and in the United States is attributable to hours worked and employment rates being at lower levels, and also to lower ‘structural’ hourly productivity.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 7330.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:7330

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Keywords: Productivity; Employment rates; Working time; ICTs; Well-being;

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  1. Edward C. Prescott, 2004. "Why Do Americans Work So Much More Than Europeans?," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000413, UCLA Department of Economics.
  2. Judith Hellerstein & David Neumark, 2004. "Production Function and Wage Equation Estimation with Heterogenous Labor: Evidence from a New Matched Employer-Employee Dataset," Working Papers, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau 04-05, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  3. Wu, De-Min, 1973. "Alternative Tests of Independence Between Stochastic Regressors and Disturbances," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 41(4), pages 733-50, July.
  4. Nelson, C. & Startz, R., 1988. "The Distribution Of The Instrumental Variables Estimator And Its T-Ratio When The Instrument Is A Poor One," Working Papers, University of Washington, Department of Economics 88-07, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
  5. Olivier Blanchard, 2004. "The Economic Future of Europe," NBER Working Papers 10310, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Gilbert Cette, 2005. "Are Productivity Levels Higher in Some European Countries than in the United States?," International Productivity Monitor, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, vol. 10, pages 59-68, Spring.
  7. Alberto Alesina & Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote, 2005. "Work and Leisure in the U.S. and Europe: Why So Different?," NBER Working Papers 11278, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. J. A. Hausman, 1976. "Specification Tests in Econometrics," Working papers, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics 185, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  9. Charles R. Nelson & Richard Startz, 1988. "Some Further Results on the Exact Small Sample Properties of the Instrumental Variable Estimator," NBER Technical Working Papers 0068, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Aubert Patrick & Caroli Eve & Roger Muriel, 2005. "New Technologies, Workplace Organisation and the Age Structure of the Workforce: Firm-Level Evidence," Research Unit Working Papers, Laboratoire d'Economie Appliquee, INRA 0505, Laboratoire d'Economie Appliquee, INRA.
  11. Cette, G. & Strauss-Kahn, M-O., 2003. "Productivité horaire et PIB par tête aux États-Unis et en France — Comparaisons et recommandations," Bulletin de la Banque de France, Banque de France, Banque de France, issue 120, pages 39-58.
  12. Étienne Wasmer, 2001. "Changements de composition de la force de travail et dualisme," Reflets et perspectives de la vie économique, De Boeck Université, De Boeck Université, vol. 0(1), pages 133-148.
  13. Belorgey, N. & Lecat, R. & Maury, T-P., 2004. "Déterminants de la productivité par employé : une évaluation empirique en données de panel," Bulletin de la Banque de France, Banque de France, Banque de France, issue 121, pages 87-113.
  14. Edmond Malinvaud, 1973. "Une explication de l'évolution de la productivité horaire du travail," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, Programme National Persée, vol. 48(1), pages 46-50.
  15. Gust, Christopher & Marquez, Jaime, 2004. "International comparisons of productivity growth: the role of information technology and regulatory practices," Labour Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 33-58, February.
  16. Patrick Aubert & Bruno Crépon, 2003. "La productivité des salariés âgés : une tentative d'estimation," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, Programme National Persée, vol. 368(1), pages 95-119.
  17. Yannick L'Horty & Nathalie Greenan, 2004. "La nouvelle économie irlandaise," Revue Française d'Économie, Programme National Persée, Programme National Persée, vol. 19(2), pages 3-60.
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