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The Measurement of TFP in Argentina, 1990-2004: A Case of the Tyranny of Numbers, Economic Cycles and Methodology

  • Ariel Coremberg

The aim of this study is to examine the main sources of growth in Argentina for the period 1990-2004 in order to identify the dominant growth profile: either extensive, which is associated with factor accumulation and utilisation, or intensive, which is based on productivity gains. The study proposes a methodology for identifying gains in total factor productivity (TFP) net of short-run fluctuations in relative prices and cyclical changes in factor utilisation. When applying this methodology to Argentina in the period 1990-2004, we find that economic growth appears to be extensive during the whole period, biased towards capital accumulation and utilisation during the 1990s and biased towards labour input after the 2002 devaluation. These results raise doubts as to whether the Argentine economy is able to generate long-run productivity gains independent of composition and quality effects and cyclical changes in factors utilisation, gains that are needed to achieve sustainable long-run growth.

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Article provided by Centre for the Study of Living Standards in its journal International Productivity Monitor.

Volume (Year): 17 (2008)
Issue (Month): (Fall)
Pages: 52-74

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Handle: RePEc:sls:ipmsls:v:17:y:2008:5
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  1. Finn Kydland & Carlos E.J.M.Zarazaga, 2002. "Argentina's recovery and excess capital shallowing of the 1990s," Estudios de Economia, University of Chile, Department of Economics, vol. 29(1 Year 20), pages 35-45, June.
  2. Basu, Susanto & Fernald, John G. & Shapiro, Matthew D., 2001. "Productivity growth in the 1990s: technology, utilization, or adjustment?," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 117-165, December.
  3. Diewert, W. E., 1976. "Exact and superlative index numbers," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 115-145, May.
  4. Hulten, Charles R., 1986. "Productivity change, capacity utilization, and the sources of efficiency growth," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1-2), pages 31-50.
  5. W. Erwin Diewert, 1995. "Price and Volume Measures in the System of National Accounts," NBER Working Papers 5103, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Hulten, Charles R. & Wykoff, Frank C., 1981. "The estimation of economic depreciation using vintage asset prices : An application of the Box-Cox power transformation," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 367-396, April.
  7. Young, Alwyn, 1995. "The Tyranny of Numbers: Confronting the Statistical Realities of the East Asian Growth Experience," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 641-80, August.
  8. Diewert, W Erwin, 1978. "Superlative Index Numbers and Consistency in Aggregation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(4), pages 883-900, July.
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