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Sources of the German Productivity Demise: Tracing the Effects of Industry-Level Information and Communication Technology Investment

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  • Theo S. Eicher
  • Oliver Roehn

Abstract

While the United States experienced two successive labor productivity surges in 1995 and 2000, Germany's productivity declined dramatically during the same period. We examine the sources of Germany's productivity demise using the ifo industry growth accounting database that provides detailed industry-level investment information. While much attention has focused on the reduction in German labor hours, our data show that information and communication technology (ICT) investment in Germany was deeply lacking in the mid-1990s as compared with the United States. The transition to the new economy mitigated the German productivity slowdown, but did not reverse it. After 2000, we find that a recovery in Non-ICT investment was offset by a widespread collapse in German total factor productivity. Over half of the German industries (accounting for almost 50 per cent of German output) experienced negative total factor productivity growth. This second major difference between the United States and German industry performance explains Germany's secular departure from the technological frontier. Copyright Verein für Socialpolitik and Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2007.

Suggested Citation

  • Theo S. Eicher & Oliver Roehn, 2007. "Sources of the German Productivity Demise: Tracing the Effects of Industry-Level Information and Communication Technology Investment," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 8, pages 211-236, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:germec:v:8:y:2007:i::p:211-236
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bart van Ark & Robert Inklaar & Robert H. McGuckin, 2003. "ICT and Productivity in Europe and the United States Where Do the Differences Come From?," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 49(3), pages 295-318.
    2. Timmer, Marcel P. & Ypma, Gerard & Ark, Bart van der, 2003. "IT in the European Union: driving productivity divergence?," GGDC Research Memorandum 200363, Groningen Growth and Development Centre, University of Groningen.
    3. Carol Corrado & John Haltiwanger & Dan Sichel, 2005. "Measuring Capital in the New Economy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number corr05-1.
    4. Robert Inklaar & Mary O'Mahony & Marcel Timmer, 2005. "ICT AND EUROPE's PRODUCTIVITY PERFORMANCE: INDUSTRY-LEVEL GROWTH ACCOUNT COMPARISONS WITH THE UNITED STATES," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 51(4), pages 505-536, December.
    5. Bart van Ark & Robert Inklaar & Robert H. McGuckin, 2003. "The Contribution of ICT-Producing and ICT-Using Industries to Productivity Growth: A Comparison of Canada, Europe and the United States," International Productivity Monitor, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, vol. 6, pages 56-63, Spring.
    6. Guido Schwerdt & Jarkko Turunen, 2007. "Growth In Euro Area Labor Quality," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 53(4), pages 716-734, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Antonopoulos, Christos & Sakellaris, Plutarchos, 2009. "The contribution of Information and Communication Technology investments to Greek economic growth: An analytical growth accounting framework," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 171-191, August.
    2. Hyunbae Chun & M. Ishaq Nadiri, 2016. "Intangible Investment and Changing Sources of Growth in Korea," The Japanese Economic Review, Japanese Economic Association, vol. 67(1), pages 50-76, March.
    3. Böhringer, Christoph & Moslener, Ulf & Oberndorfer, Ulrich & Ziegler, Andreas, 2012. "Clean and productive? Empirical evidence from the German manufacturing industry," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 442-451.
    4. Aretz, Bodo & Busl, Claudia & Gürtzgen, Nicole & Hogrefe, Jan & Kappler, Marcus & Steffes, Susanne & Westerheide, Peter, 2009. "Endbericht zum Forschungsauftrag fe 13/08: "Ursachenanalyse der Verschiebung in der funktionalen Einkommensverteilung in Deutschland" (Aktenzeichen I A 3 - Vw 3170/08/10035)," ZEW Expertises, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research, number 110510.
    5. Thiess Büttner & Petra Enß & Fédéric Holm-Hadulla & Robert Schwager & Christiane Starbatty & Wiebke Webering, 2010. "Der kommunale Finanzausgleich in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern : langfristige Entwicklung und Reformperspektiven ; Teil I: Der vertikale Finanzausgleich ; Gutachten im Auftrag des Innenministeriums des Lande," ifo Forschungsberichte, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 45, January.

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