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What role did education, equipment age and technology play in 20th century productivity growth?

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  • Antonin BERGEAUD
  • Gilbert Cette
  • Rémy Lecat

Abstract

The 20th century was a period of exceptional growth, driven mainly by the increase in total factor productivity (TFP). Studying 17 OECD countries over the 1890-2013 period,1 this Rue de la Banque shows that the “one big wave” of productivity growth in the mid-20th century, as well as the ICT productivity wave, remain only partially explained when taking into account quality-adjusted factors such as education, equipment age and technology diffusion along with the stock of productive capital and hours worked. These results plead for a wider view on growth factors, encompassing changes in the production process, management techniques, financing practices, firm demography and factor allocation.

Suggested Citation

  • Antonin BERGEAUD & Gilbert Cette & Rémy Lecat, 2017. "What role did education, equipment age and technology play in 20th century productivity growth?," Rue de la Banque, Banque de France, issue 43, may..
  • Handle: RePEc:bfr:rueban:2017:43
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    1. Elhanan Helpman & Manuel Trajtenberg, 1996. "Diffusion of General Purpose Technologies," NBER Working Papers 5773, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Galor, Oded, 2005. "From Stagnation to Growth: Unified Growth Theory," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 4, pages 171-293 Elsevier.
    3. Gilbert Cette & Christian Clerc & Lea Bresson, 2015. "Contribution of ICT Diffusion to Labour Productivity Growth: The United States, Canada, the Eurozone, and the United Kingdom, 1970-2013," International Productivity Monitor, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, vol. 28, pages 81-88, Spring.
    4. Susanto Basu & John G. Fernald, 2008. "Information and communications technology as a general purpose technology: evidence from U.S. industry data," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, pages 1-15.
    5. Diego A. Comin & Bart Hobijn, 2009. "The CHAT Dataset," Harvard Business School Working Papers 10-035, Harvard Business School.
    6. Charles R. Hulten, 2000. "Total Factor Productivity: A Short Biography," NBER Working Papers 7471, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Robert J. Gordon, 1999. "U.S. Economic Growth since 1870: One Big Wave?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 123-128, May.
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