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Productivity Growth in Service Industries: A Canadian Success Story

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  • Someshwar Rao
  • Andrew Sharpe

    ()

  • Jianmin Tang

Abstract

The Canadian service sector has performed well in recent years in terms of labour and multifactor productivity growth, both in absolute terms and relative to the United States, offsetting much of the poorer performance of the manufacturing sector. Service sector labour productivity growth has also shown a marked acceleration in both Canada and the United States in recent years relative to earlier periods. The objective of this paper is to identify the factors behind this relative Canadian success story. The sources of the acceleration in service sector labour productivity growth were different in the two countries. In Canada, increased multifactor productivity growth was responsible for 70 per cent of the labour productivity growth acceleration. In the United States, on the other hand, increased capital intensity and intermediate input intensity were the most important contributors to the service sector labour productivity growth acceleration. In Canada, the contribution of capital intensity growth to service sector labour productivity growth actually fell between 1981-1995 and 1995-2000. The factor driving Canada’s superior service sector labour productivity growth has been better multifactor productivity growth, suggesting a productivity convergence to the U.S. level. A faster pace of human capital accumulation relative to the United States, as measured by growth in the proportion of workers with a university degree, fostered the catch-up process of Canadian service industries.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for the Study of Living Standards in its series CSLS Research Reports with number 2004-01.

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Date of creation: Feb 2004
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Handle: RePEc:sls:resrep:0401

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Related research

Keywords: Service Sector; Service Industries; Services; Productivity; Productivity Growth; Labour Productivity; Multifactor Productivity; Total Factor Productivity; Growth; Acceleration; Canada; United States;

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References

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  1. 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.
  2. Jianmin Tang & Weimin Wang, 2004. "Sources of aggregate labour productivity growth in Canada and the United States," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 37(2), pages 421-444, May.
  3. Jeremy Smith, 2004. "Aggregate Labour Productivity Growth in Canada and the United States: Definitions, Trends and Measurement Issues," CSLS Research Reports 2004-04, Centre for the Study of Living Standards.
  4. Dale W. Jorgenson & Mun S. Ho & Kevin J. Stiroh, 2005. "Growth of U.S. Industries and Investments in Information Technology and Higher Education," NBER Chapters, in: Measuring Capital in the New Economy, pages 403-478 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Jeffrey I. Bernstein & Richard G. Harris & Andrew Sharpe, 2002. "The Widening Canada-US Productivity Gap in Manufaturing," International Productivity Monitor, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, vol. 5, pages 3-22, Fall.
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Cited by:
  1. Jeremy Smith, 2004. "Aggregate Labour Productivity Growth in Canada and the United States: Definitions, Trends and Measurement Issues," CSLS Research Reports 2004-04, Centre for the Study of Living Standards.
  2. Richard Dion & Robert Fay, 2008. "Understanding Productivity: A Review of Recent Technical Research," Discussion Papers 08-3, Bank of Canada.

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