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Stories about productivity

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  • John Quiggin

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Queensland)

Abstract

In this paper, it is argued that, given its relatively short duration and high year-to-year variability, the MFP data set does not contain enough information to allow clear statistical discrimination between competing hypotheses. As a result of this lack of information, combined with the human predilection for observing patterns, a range of alternative stories, each of which may be supported by an appropriate interpretation of the data, has been produced. Three such stories are described here. The first is the ÔNew EconomyÕ story put forward by Parham and others. The second story agrees with the first regarding the 1990s, but interprets the subsequent decline in productivity growth as the result of a failure to pursue microeconomic reform with sufficient vigour. The third story rejects the idea of a productivity miracle in the 1990s and argues instead that productivity growth rates experienced a sharp decline at the end of the postwar ÔGolden AgeÕ around 1970, and that this decline has been sustained, although with fluctuations around the trend.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Risk and Sustainable Management Group, University of Queensland in its series Australian Public Policy Program Working Papers with number WP4P06.

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Date of creation: Mar 2006
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Handle: RePEc:rsm:pubpol:p06_4

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  1. Margaret McKenzie, 2010. "Microeconomic reform and productivity in Australia – boom or blip," Economics Series 2010_15, Deakin University, Faculty of Business and Law, School of Accounting, Economics and Finance.
  2. McCloskey, Donald N, 1983. "The Rhetoric of Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 481-517, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Jyoti Rahman & David Stephan & Gene Tunny, 2009. "Estimating trends in Australia's productivity," Treasury Working Papers 2009-01, Treasury, Australian Government, revised Feb 2009.
  2. Samantha Farmakis‐Gamboni & David Prentice, 2011. "When Does Reducing Union Bargaining Power Increase Productivity? Evidence from the Workplace Relations Act," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 87(279), pages 603-616, December.
  3. Samantha Farmakis-Gamboni & David Prentice, 2007. "Does Reducing Union Bargaining Power Increase Productivity?," Working Papers 2007.04, School of Economics, La Trobe University.
  4. John Edwards & David Gruen & John Quiggin, 2011. "Wrap-up Discussion," RBA Annual Conference Volume, in: Hugo Gerard & Jonathan Kearns (ed.), The Australian Economy in the 2000s Reserve Bank of Australia.

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