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Stories About Productivity

  • Quiggin, John

In this paper, it is argued that, given its relatively short duration and high year-to-year variability, the MFP data set does not contain enough information to allow clear statistical discrimination between competing hypotheses. As a result of this lack of information, combined with the human predilection for observing patterns, a range of alternative stories, each of which may be supported by an appropriate interpretation of the data, has been produced. Three such stories are described here. The first is the ÔNew EconomyÕ story put forward by Parham and others. The second story agrees with the first regarding the 1990s, but interprets the subsequent decline in productivity growth as the result of a failure to pursue microeconomic reform with sufficient vigour. The third story rejects the idea of a productivity miracle in the 1990s and argues instead that productivity growth rates experienced a sharp decline at the end of the postwar ÔGolden AgeÕ around 1970, and that this decline has been sustained, although with fluctuations around the trend.

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Article provided by National Institute of Labour Studies in its journal Australian Bulletin of Labour.

Volume (Year): 32 (2006)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 18-26

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Handle: RePEc:fli:journl:26161
Note: Quiggin, J., 2006. Stories About Productivity. Australian Bulletin of Labour, Vol. 32 No. 1, pp. 18-26.
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  1. Margaret McKenzie, 2010. "Microeconomic reform and productivity in Australia – boom or blip," Economics Series 2010_15, Deakin University, Faculty of Business and Law, School of Accounting, Economics and Finance.
  2. Parham, D, 2005. "Australiaʼs 1990s Productivity Surge: A Response to Keith Hancockʼs Challenge," Australian Bulletin of Labour, National Institute of Labour Studies, vol. 31(3), pages 295-303.
  3. McCloskey, Donald N, 1983. "The Rhetoric of Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 481-517, June.
  4. Hancock, K, 2005. "Productivity Growth In Australia 1964-65 To 2003-04," Australian Bulletin of Labour, National Institute of Labour Studies, vol. 31(1), pages 28-32.
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