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Symposium on Future Productivity Growth in Canada: An Introduction


  • Andrew Sharpe



In this introduction, Andrew Sharpe provides the context for the Symposium on Future Productivity Growth in Canada, a panel organized by the CSLS at the Canadian Economics Association Meetings, June 2003 at Carleton University. He provides a context for the presentations by highlighting certain issues related to the topic not directly addressed in the symposium. Total hours worked is a more accurate measure of labour input than persons employed, so that when data on hours are available, an hours-based aggregate labour productivity measure is preferable to a worker-based measure. An important reason for choosing the total economy as the appropriate measure of aggregate labour productivity is that the potential for real income gains is determined by economy-wide aggregate productivity increases, but the business sector accounts for only around three quarters of total economy output. Small increases in productivity over long time periods and the real income gains these generate have extremely favourable consequences for the affordability of social programs. Finally, while the contributors to the symposium reach a consensus of 2 per cent per year labour productivity growth in Canada over the next 25 years, there is no such consensus in the broader economics profession, with some forecasters alternatively predicting labour productivity growth as low as 1.6 per cent per year.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Sharpe, 2003. "Symposium on Future Productivity Growth in Canada: An Introduction," International Productivity Monitor, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, vol. 7, pages 44-45, Fall.
  • Handle: RePEc:sls:ipmsls:v:7:y:2003:4

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    More about this item


    Labour Productivity Growth; Canada; Forecast; Fiscal Balances; Sustainability; Social Programs; Business Sector; Total Economy; Output Per Worker; Output Per Hour;

    JEL classification:

    • O51 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - U.S.; Canada
    • E66 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General Outlook and Conditions
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence


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