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Mind the Gap! International Comparisons of Productivity in Services and Goods Production

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  • Robert Inklaar
  • Marcel P. Timmer
  • Bart Van Ark

Abstract

. In this paper, we make a comparison of industry output, inputs and productivity growth and levels between seven advanced economies (Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, United Kingdom and United States). Our industry‐level growth accounts make use of input data on labour quantity (hours) and composition (schooling levels), and distinguish between six different types of capital assets (including three information and communication technology (ICT) assets). The comparisons of levels rely on industry‐specific purchasing power parities (PPPs) for output and inputs, within a consistent input–output framework for the year 1997. Our results show that differences in productivity growth and levels can be mainly traced to market services, not to goods‐producing industries. Part of the strong productivity growth in market services in Anglo‐Saxon countries, such as in Australia and Canada, may be related to relatively low productivity levels compared with the United States. In contrast, services productivity levels in continental European countries were on par with the United States in 1997, but growth in Europe was much weaker since then. In terms of factor input use, the United States is very different from all other countries, mostly because of the more intensive use of ICT capital in the United States.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert Inklaar & Marcel P. Timmer & Bart Van Ark, 2007. "Mind the Gap! International Comparisons of Productivity in Services and Goods Production," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 8(2), pages 281-307, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:germec:v:8:y:2007:i:2:p:281-307
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0475.2007.00408.x
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