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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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    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
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