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Le paradoxe du ralentissement du progrès technique

  • Hélène Baudchon
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    [fre] Depuis 1973, le rythme de croissance des pays industrialisés a fortement ralenti. Ce changement de rythme, et sa datation, sont plus constatés qu'expliqués. Tout se passe comme si la croissance potentielle 1 avait ralenti, sans que l'évolution des facteurs de production ne permette d'en rendre compte. On est donc conduit à supposer qu'il y a eu une rupture dans le rythme du progrès technique. Il s'agit là d'un paradoxe car, d'une part, cette rupture reste inexpliquée, tandis que, d'autre part, on ne peut occulter l'importance du courant d'innovations qui a marqué le dernier quart de siècle. Mais les innovations majeures ne se diffusent que lentement dans les processus de production et dans les modes de vie. On doit donc admettre que, avec les méthodes dont on dispose, on n'a pas encore le recul suffisant pour savoir s'il y a eu une rupture exogène du rythme de progès technique impliquant des gains de productivité durablement plus faibles ou s'il s'agit d'une évolution endogène progressive caractéristique d'un système économique en phase de maturation. [eng] Since 1973, the pace of growth has been sharply declining in the industrialised couotries. It is unfortunately easier to observe this change of rhythm, and to identify its starting date, than to explain it. It looks as though potential growth had slowed, but nevertheless, the evolution of the factors of production do not even reflect this movement. Therefore we suppose that there is a break in the path of technical progress. However a paradox appears. On the one hand, this break remains unexplained, whereas, on the other hand, we cannot deny the importance of the innovations wave during the last quarter of this century. But it takes time for major innovations to spread through the production process and to every daylife. With the empirical work and the data we have, we are not yet able to gauge whether there has been an exogenous break in the pace of technical progress which implies permanently weak productivity gains. On the contrary, it may correspond to a progressive endogenous evolution which characterises an economie system during a maturation stage.

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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.3406/ofce.1997.1449
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    File URL: http://www.persee.fr/doc/ofce_0751-6614_1997_num_60_1_1449
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    Article provided by Programme National Persée in its journal Revue de l'OFCE.

    Volume (Year): 60 (1997)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 187-217

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    Handle: RePEc:prs:rvofce:ofce_0751-6614_1997_num_60_1_1449
    Note: DOI:10.3406/ofce.1997.1449
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.persee.fr/collection/ofce

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    1. Robert J. Barro, 1989. "Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries," NBER Working Papers 3120, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Griliches, Zvi, 1988. "Productivity Puzzles and R&D: Another Nonexplanation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(4), pages 9-21, Fall.
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    5. James E. Rauch, 1991. "Productivity Gains From Geographic Concentration of human Capital: Evidence From the Cities," NBER Working Papers 3905, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    7. Michael R. Darby, 1982. "The U.S. Productivity Slowdown: A Case of Statistical Myopia," NBER Working Papers 1018, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Paul Dubois, 1985. "Ruptures de croissance et progrès technique," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 181(1), pages 3-31.
    9. Aschauer, David Alan, 1989. "Is public expenditure productive?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 177-200, March.
    10. Paul M. Romer, 1989. "Human Capital And Growth: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 3173, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Paul M. Romer, 1987. "Crazy Explanations for the Productivity Slowdown," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1987, Volume 2, pages 163-210 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Henri Sterdyniak & Sanvi Avouyi-Dovi, 1986. "Une série de coût d'usage du capital," Revue de l'OFCE, Programme National Persée, vol. 15(1), pages 217-226.
    13. Françoise Maurel, 1990. "Dynamique de l'emploi et tendance de la productivité dans les années quatre-vingt," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 237(1), pages 151-162.
    14. Gilbert Cette & Marc Fleurbaey & Daniel Szpiro, 1990. "Questions sur la baisse de la productivité du capital dans l'industrie manufacturière," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 237(1), pages 143-149.
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