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A Detailed Analysis of the Productivity Performance of Oil and Gas Extraction in Canada


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  • Andrew Sharpe


  • Celeste Bradley



In recent years, the productivity performance of oil and gas extraction in Canada has been dismal. Based on official real GDP and labour input estimates from Statistics Canada, labour productivity in oil and gas extraction fell 8.23 per cent per year between the 2000 cyclical peak and 2007, with capital productivity down 5.97 per cent per year over the same period and total factor productivity (TFP) off 6.67 per cent per year between 2000 and 2006. Among the various hypotheses put forward to explain these trends, the most robust seems to be that higher output prices have suppressed productivity growth through two effects: increased exploitation of low-productivity marginal deposits, and business decisions based on profitability rather than productivity. Despite the rapid decline in productivity in oil and gas extraction, it is not necessarily true that Canadians are worse off. In fact, increased output prices and employment shares in the industry, as well as the high productivity level, have resulted in positive contributions to Canada‟s aggregate labour productivity growth from 2000 to 2006.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for the Study of Living Standards in its series CSLS Research Reports with number 2009-08.

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Date of creation: Sep 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:sls:resrep:0908

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Keywords: productivity; mining; oil and gas; resource extraction; labour productivity; output per hour; capital intensity; total factor productivity; Canada;

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Cited by:
  1. John E. Tilton, 2013. "Cyclical and Secular Determinants of Productivity in the Copper, Aluminum, Iron Ore, and Coal Industries," Working Papers 2013-11, Colorado School of Mines, Division of Economics and Business.


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