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Procyclical Labour Productivity: A Closer Look at a Stylized Fact

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  • Hart, Robert A
  • Malley, James R

Abstract

At 4-digit United States manufacturing industry level, we find evidence suggesting that the stylized fact of procyclical labour productivity should be treated with great caution. We use the NBER Manufacturing Productivity database to investigate the relationship between hourly labour productivity and real output for 450 industries for the years 1958-91. Labour productivity is significantly procyclical in 63% of industries and acyclical in 36%. In the latter respect, a high proportion of investment goods industries display acyclical productivity. Cross-section regressions are carried out that seek to explain the interindustry distribution of cyclicality. The analysis attributes a significant role to variations in materials costs, as a proxy for fluctuations in factor utilization. Copyright 1999 by The London School of Economics and Political Science

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  • Hart, Robert A & Malley, James R, 1999. "Procyclical Labour Productivity: A Closer Look at a Stylized Fact," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 66(264), pages 533-550, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:econom:v:66:y:1999:i:264:p:533-50
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:dgr:rugggd:200574 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Carlos Carreira & Paulino Teixeira, 2008. "Internal and external restructuring over the cycle: a firm-based analysis of gross flows and productivity growth in Portugal," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 29(3), pages 211-220, June.
    3. Robert Inklaar, 2007. "Cyclical Productivity in Europe and the United States: Evaluating the Evidence on Returns to Scale and Input Utilization," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 74(296), pages 822-841, November.
    4. Lucas Navarro & Raimundo Soto, 2006. "Procyclical Productivity in Manufacturing," Latin American Journal of Economics-formerly Cuadernos de Economía, Instituto de Economía. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile., vol. 43(127), pages 193-220.

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