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De la reprise de l'investissement à la croissance du capital

  • Véronique Riches
  • Véronique Przedborski
  • Olivier Passet
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    [eng] In the last five years there has been sustained investment in France, Germany, the United-States and Japan. Have the adjustments required for steady growth yet been made in industry ? The investment recovery, worldwide since 1985, has been mainly brought about by the productive sector. Firms gave priority to their spending on machinery, especially on office and business machines whose prices have been decreasing. Thus larger capital inputs could be financed with given resources, leading to higher efficiency. In Europe, as well as in the United-States, the growth of the productive gross fixed capital stock has hardly increased in real terms. Nevertheless a speeded-up spread of high-tech goods through production processes, designed to improve the quality of the capital stock, may have offset its slower growth. The alleged impediments due to insufficient accumulation should therefore be revalued downwards. The downward trend in capital productivity increased in Japan, but disappeared in Europe and the United-States where capital-labour substitution slowed. Industrializing the service industry allowed the capital productivity in this branch to stabilize since 1983, Japan excepted. In the manufacturing industry productivity improved in the United-States but kept decreasing in Europe where its level is by far the lowest. As Europe tends to invest more than Japan and the US, this leads one to question the efficiency of its production process. [fre] En 1989, après quatre à cinq années de dépenses soutenues d'investissement en France, en Allemagne, aux Etats-Unis et au Japon, les ajustements nécessaires à une croissance durable ont-ils pour autant été réalisés dans les secteurs productifs ? La reprise de l'investissement, partout effective dès 1985, a été principalement initiée par les entreprises. Celles-ci ont privilégié les dépenses en équipement et notamment celles de matériels de bureau et d'informatique, dont les prix baissaient. Ainsi un montant équivalent d'investissement a-t-il permis d'acquérir davantage de moyens de production et donc une plus grande efficacité. En Europe comme aux Etats-Unis la reprise de l'investissement n'a pas encore permis une élévation de la croissance du volume de capital fixe brut productif. Mais l'amélioration de la qualité du stock de capital, en partie due à une diffusion accélérée de biens à haute technologie dans le processus de production, a pu compenser sa moindre croissance et incite à relativiser le handicap supposé d'une insuffisante accumulation. La baisse tendantielle de la productivité apparente du capital qui s'est intensifiée au Japon, s'est interrompue en Europe et aux Etats-Unis, où la substitution du capital au travail s'est ralentie. Dans le tertiaire l'industrialisation des services a permis que la productivité du capital cesse de se dégrader à partir de 1983, sauf au Japon. Dans l'industrie manufacturière elle s'est rapidement accrue aux Etats-Unis mais continue de baisser en Europe et reste notablement plus faible qu'ailleurs. Plus que l'effort d'investissement, c'est l'efficacité de l'appareil productif européen qui est en cause.

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    Article provided by Programme National Persée in its journal Revue de l'OFCE.

    Volume (Year): 30 (1990)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 85-120

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    Handle: RePEc:prs:rvofce:ofce_0751-6614_1990_num_30_1_1200
    Note: DOI:10.3406/ofce.1990.1200
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