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Can Measurement Error Explain the Weakness of Productivity Growth in the Canadian Construction Industry?

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  • Peter Harrison

Abstract

According to Statistics Canada productivity estimates, the rate of growth of real output per hour in the construction industry in Canada over the 1981-2006 period was 0.53 per cent per year, one-third of the business sector average. This article examines evidence for and against the hypothesis that measurement error explains this below average productivity performance. The article finds that the use of input cost indexes to adjust nominal output to obtain real output, instead of the more appropriate use of output price indexes, for certain sub-industries of the construction sector represents the most likely source of measurement error. This procedure may result in a downward bias to labour productivity growth in the construction sector of up to 0.44 percentage points per year. It is thus likely that measurement error explains some, but not all, of the gap in labour productivity growth between the construction industry and the business sector.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Harrison, 2007. "Can Measurement Error Explain the Weakness of Productivity Growth in the Canadian Construction Industry?," International Productivity Monitor, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, vol. 14, pages 53-70, Spring.
  • Handle: RePEc:sls:ipmsls:v:14:y:2007:4
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Don Drummond & Evan Capeluck & Matthew Calver, 2015. "The Key Challenge for Canadian Public Policy: Generating Inclusive and Sustainable Economic Growth," CSLS Research Reports 2015-11, Centre for the Study of Living Standards.
    2. Hassan Nasir & Hani Ahmed & Carl Haas & Paul M. Goodrum, 2014. "An analysis of construction productivity differences between Canada and the United States," Construction Management and Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(6), pages 595-607, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Real labour productivity; Construction industry; Business sector; Input cost indexes; Measurement error; Productivity gap.;

    JEL classification:

    • C40 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - General
    • C80 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - General
    • C82 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Macroeconomic Data; Data Access
    • L74 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Primary Products and Construction - - - Construction
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
    • O51 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - U.S.; Canada

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