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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. Stephen D. Oliner & Daniel E. Sichel, 2002. "Information technology and productivity: where are we now and where are we going?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2002-29, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  2. repec:dgr:rugggd:gd-79 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. 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.
  4. Giuseppe Nicoletti & Stefano Scarpetta, 2003. "Regulation, productivity and growth: OECD evidence," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 18(36), pages 9-72, 04.
  5. Brynjolfsson, Erik & Hitt, Lorin M., 2004. "Computing Productivity: Firm-Level Evidence," Working papers 4210-01, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  6. 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.
  7. Gordon, Robert J, 2004. "Why Was Europe Left at the Station when America's Productivity Locomotive Departed?," CEPR Discussion Papers 4416, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. 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.
  9. Stephen D. Oliner & Daniel E. Sichel, 2000. "The resurgence of growth in the late 1990s: is information technology the story?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2000-20, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  10. 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.
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  12. van Ark, Bart, 1998. "Productivity," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 171-174, June.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Someshwar Rao & Andrew Sharpe & Jeremy Smith, 2005. "An Analysis of the Labour Productivity Growth Slowdown in Canada since 2000," International Productivity Monitor, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, vol. 10, pages 3-23, Spring.
  16. 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.
  17. repec:dgr:rugccs:200311 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. Dirk Pilat, 1996. "Labour Productivity Levels in OECD Countries: Estimates for Manufacturing and Selected Service Sectors," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 169, OECD Publishing.
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