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

Listed author(s):
  • 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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File URL: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1468-0475.2007.00408.x
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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. 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.
  2. Robert J. Gordon, 2003. "Exploding Productivity Growth: Context, Causes, and Implications," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 34(2), pages 207-298.
  3. Stephen D. Oliner & Daniel E. Sichel, 2000. "The resurgence of growth in the late 1990s: is information technology the story?," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
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  6. D. S. Prasada Rao & Marcel P. Timmer, 2003. "Purchasing Power Parities for Industry Comparisons Using Weighted Elteto-Koves-Szulc (EKS) Methods," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 49(4), pages 491-511, December.
  7. repec:dgr:rugggd:200576 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Francesco Daveri, 2004. "Delayed IT Usage: Is It Really the Drag on Europe's Productivity?," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 50(3), pages 397-421.
  9. Robert J. Gordon, 2004. "Why was Europe Left at the Station When America's Productivity Locomotive Departed?," NBER Working Papers 10661, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  11. Hill, Robert J. & Timmer, Marcel P., 2006. "Standard Errors as Weights in Multilateral Price Indexes," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 24, pages 366-377, July.
  12. Robert J. Hill, 1999. "Comparing Price Levels across Countries Using Minimum-Spanning Trees," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(1), pages 135-142, February.
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  15. 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.
  16. Oliner, Stephen D. & Sichel, Daniel E., 2003. "Information technology and productivity: where are we now and where are we going?," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 477-503, July.
  17. Caves, Douglas W & Christensen, Laurits R & Diewert, W Erwin, 1982. "Multilateral Comparisons of Output, Input, and Productivity Using Superlative Index Numbers," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(365), pages 73-86, March.
  18. Giuseppe Nicoletti & Stefano Scarpetta, 2003. "Regulation, productivity and growth: OECD evidence," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 18(36), pages 9-72, 04.
  19. Jorgenson, Dale W. & Kuroda, Masahiro & Nishimizu, Mieko, 1987. "Japan-U.S. industry-level productivity comparisons, 1960-1979," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 1-30, March.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. Dirk Pilat, 1996. "Labour Productivity Levels in OECD Countries: Estimates for Manufacturing and Selected Service Sectors," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 169, OECD Publishing.
  24. Allen, Robert C & Diewert, W Erwin, 1981. "Direct versus Implicit Superlative Index Number Formulae," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 63(3), pages 430-435, August.
  25. van Ark, Bart, 1998. "Productivity," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 171-174, June.
  26. Paul Schreyer, 2001. "The OECD Productivity Manual: A Guide to the Measurement of Industry-Level and Aggregate Productivity," International Productivity Monitor, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, vol. 2, pages 37-51, Spring.
  27. Dale W. Jorgenson & Mun S. Ho & Kevin J. Stiroh, 2005. "Productivity, Volume 3: Information Technology and the American Growth Resurgence," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 3, number 0262101114, July.
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