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Symposium on Future Productivity Growth in Canada: An Introduction

Listed author(s):
  • 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.

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

Volume (Year): 7 (2003)
Issue (Month): (Fall)
Pages: 44-45

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Handle: RePEc:sls:ipmsls:v:7:y:2003:4
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