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Recent Trends in Economic Activity and TFP in Italy with a Focus on Embodied Technical Progress

Author

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  • Alessandro Mistretta

    (Bank of Italy, Economic Outlook and Monetary Policy Directorate)

  • Francesco Zollino

    (Bank of Italy, Economic Outlook and Monetary Policy Directorate)

Abstract

In this paper we provide fresh evidence on TFP performance in the Italian economy since 1995, taking into account the changing composition of primary inputs across different capital goods and employment skills, as well as technical progress embodied in different vintages of the productive assets. We first estimate a technical depreciation rate by using individual data on Italian industrial firms. We then obtain an experimental measure of the capital stock adjusted for technical efficiency, by augmenting the standard depreciation rate by our own estimate of technical depreciation (about 5% per year). Once we introduce our measure of capital stock in a standard growth accounting exercise, we find a less dismal performance of the Italian TFP than usually estimated. Focusing on the years between 2007 and 2016, the upward correction in TFP amounts to around 1.5% points in the overall period for the total economy and to about 2.5% points when only considering manufacturing. These findings shed a somewhat more positive light on future TFP developments in Italy, even more so should the efficiency of installed capital resumes improving following the fall during the crisis of years 2008–2013 caused by the slump in investment spending. Higher capital formation would imply a faster replacement of old vintages with more technically advanced ones.

Suggested Citation

  • Alessandro Mistretta & Francesco Zollino, 2021. "Recent Trends in Economic Activity and TFP in Italy with a Focus on Embodied Technical Progress," Italian Economic Journal: A Continuation of Rivista Italiana degli Economisti and Giornale degli Economisti, Springer;Società Italiana degli Economisti (Italian Economic Association), vol. 7(1), pages 79-107, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:italej:v:7:y:2021:i:1:d:10.1007_s40797-020-00133-0
    DOI: 10.1007/s40797-020-00133-0
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    Cited by:

    1. Claire Giordano & Francesco Zollino, 2021. "Long‐Run Factor Accumulation And Productivity Trends In Italy," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(3), pages 741-803, July.
    2. Matteo Bugamelli & Francesca Lotti & Monica Amici & Emanuela Ciapanna & Fabrizio Colonna & Francesco D�Amuri & Silvia Giacomelli & Andrea Linarello & Francesco Manaresi & Giuliana Palumbo & Filippo , 2018. "Productivity growth in Italy: a tale of a slow-motion change," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 422, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    TFP; Technical progress; Embodied technology;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights
    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • L60 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - General

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