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

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

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. Copyright Verein für Socialpolitik and Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2007.

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Article provided by Verein für Socialpolitik in its journal German Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 8 (2007)
Issue (Month): (05)
Pages: 281-307

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Handle: RePEc:bla:germec:v:8:y:2007:i::p:281-307
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  1. Giuseppe Nicoletti & Stefano Scarpetta, 2003. "Regulation, productivity and growth: OECD evidence," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 18(36), pages 9-72, 04.
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  3. van Ark, Bart, 1998. "Productivity," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 171-174, June.
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  10. van Ark, Bart & Inklaar, Robert, 2006. "Catching up or getting stuck? Europe's troubles to exploit ICT's productivity potential," GGDC Research Memorandum GD-79, Groningen Growth and Development Centre, University of Groningen.
  11. Timmer, Marcel & Inklaar, Robert, 2005. "Productivity differentials in the U.S. and EU distributive trade sector: statistical myth or reality," GGDC Research Memorandum 200576, Groningen Growth and Development Centre, University of Groningen.
  12. Laurits R. Christensen & Dianne Cummings & Dale Jorgenson, 1980. "Economic Growth, 1947–73: An International Comparison," NBER Chapters, in: New Developments in Productivity Measurement, pages 595-698 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Mary O'Mahony & Michela Vecchi, 2005. "Quantifying the Impact of ICT Capital on Output Growth: A Heterogeneous Dynamic Panel Approach," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 72(288), pages 615-633, November.
  14. Theo Eicher & Oliver Röhn, 2007. "Sources of the German Productivity Demise – Tracing the Effects of Industry-Level ICT Investment," CESifo Working Paper Series 1896, CESifo Group Munich.
  15. Francesco Daveri, 2004. "Delayed IT Usage: Is it really the drag on Europe's productivity?," Working Papers 267, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  16. Robert Inklaar & Marcel Timmer, 2007. "International Comparisons of Industry Output, Inputs and Productivity Levels: Methodology and New Results," Economic Systems Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(3), pages 343-363.
  17. 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.
  18. Ark, Bart van & Inklaar, Robert & McGuckin, Robert H., 2003. "ICT and productivity in Europe and the United States," CCSO Working Papers 200311, University of Groningen, CCSO Centre for Economic Research.
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