Why did Europe’s productivity catch-up sputter out? a tale of tigers and tortoises
This paper takes a different approach to examining the sharp turnaround in EU relative to U. S. labor productivity growth since 1995. The vast majority of the literature focuses on the American growth revival. But close to half of the turnaround was caused by a European retardation. What caused that retardation? Our paper shows that none of the consensus explanations of the American revival provide any help at all in explaining the European retardation. It is sui generis and therein lies a tale that has not previously been told. ; Europe has faltered across the board. The deceleration of its productivity growth is not explained at all by ICT production and only to a small degree by retailing/wholesaling. Rather, the big European countries have failed in nearly every dimension. The retardation of Europe is illuminated by dividing up the EU-15 countries into Tigers, a Middle group, and Tortoises. ; Our first surprise in examining the data is to find that the EU-US turnaround in labor productivity growth was not just a reflection of an equivalent turnaround in total factor productivity growth. Capital deepening also faltered in Europe, indicting all the macroeconomic determinants of economy-wide investment as part of Europe’s problem. ; The most striking aspect of our results is that the failing of the Tortoise countries is widespread, spanning industries as diverse as agriculture, wholesale trade, mining, chemicals, construction, fabricated metals, and clothing. Our explanation is that Europe’s previous catch-up to the U. S. productivity level before 1995 was artificial – by making labor expensive, Europe raised its average product. But after 1995 as labor market reforms have helped to make labor cheaper, so the average product of labor has been pushed down and its growth rate has faltered. The falling behind of Europe is quite simple to explain; European regulations defied the laws of labor market equilibrium for decades, and a slight leak in the dam holding back market forces has already led to faster growth in European employment and slower growth in productivity.
Volume (Year): (2005)
Issue (Month): ()
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: P.O. Box 7702, San Francisco, CA 94120-7702|
Phone: (415) 974-2000
Fax: (415) 974-3333
Web page: http://www.frbsf.org/
More information through EDIRC
|Order Information:|| Email: |
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Lucia Foster & John Haltiwanger & C.J. Krizan, 2002.
"The Link Between Aggregate and Micro Productivity Growth: Evidence from Retail Trade,"
NBER Working Papers
9120, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- C.J. Krizan & John Haltiwanger & Lucia Foster, 2002. "The Link Between Aggregate and Micro Productivity Growth: Evidence from Retail Trade," Working Papers 02-18, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
- Kevin J. Stiroh, 2002.
"Information Technology and the U.S. Productivity Revival: What Do the Industry Data Say?,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1559-1576, December.
- Kevin J. Stiroh, 2001. "Information technology and the U.S. productivity revival: what do the industry data say?," Staff Reports 115, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
- Gordon, Robert J, 1995.
"Is There a Trade-off between Unemployment and Productivity Growth?,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
1159, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Robert J. Gordon, 1995. "Is There a Tradeoff between Unemployment and Productivity Growth?," NBER Working Papers 5081, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Bart van Ark & Robert Inklaar & Robert H. McGuckin, 2002. "'Changing Gear' - Productivity, ICT and Services Industries: Europe and the United States," Economics Program Working Papers 02-02, The Conference Board, Economics Program.
- Martin Neil Baily & Jacob Funk Kirkegaard, 2004. "Transforming the European Economy," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 353, January.
- 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.
- Inklaar, Robert & Mahony, Mary O' & Timmer, Marcel, 2003. "ICT and Europe's productivity performance industry-level growth account comparisons with the United States," GGDC Research Memorandum 200368, Groningen Growth and Development Centre, University of Groningen.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedfpr:y:2005:x:29. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Noah Pollaczek)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.