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Interpreting procyclical productivity: evidence from a cross-nation cross-industry panel

  • J. Bradford DeLong
  • Robert J. Waldmann

We use an international panel data set of value added by industry to see if labor productivity is procyclical in response to demand shocks. It is: holding fixed our proxy for supply-side factors - the value added levels of an industry in other nations - industry-level productivity rises when value added in the rest of manufacturing rises. Moreover, increases in unemployment are associated with a lowered degree of procyclicality in Europe. This suggests that procyclical productivity arises primarily from "labor hoarding" by firms in the U.S. that wish to avoid future training costs and primarily from "job hoarding" by workers in Europe who wish to avoid unemployment.

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Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in its journal Economic Review.

Volume (Year): (1997)
Issue (Month): ()
Pages: 33-52

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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfer:y:1997:p:33-52:n:1
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