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Does Australia’s geography affect labour productivity?


  • Bryn Battersby

    (Treasury, Government of Australia)


Over the past 40 years, Australia’s labour productivity level relative to the United States has trended slowly upwards. However, there remains a substantial gap between Australian and United States labour productivity levels. The persistence of this gap has raised questions about whether there are factors that might limit the extent to which Australia can catch-up to the United States. This paper summarises some recent Treasury work that has sought to quantify the extent to which Australia’s geography explains the productivity gap with the United States. This work has found that Australia’s geography might explain as much as half of the productivity gap with the United States.

Suggested Citation

  • Bryn Battersby, 2006. "Does Australia’s geography affect labour productivity?," Economic Roundup, The Treasury, Australian Government, issue 4, pages 67-76, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:tsy:journl:journl_tsy_er_2006_4_2

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    labour productivity; Australia; United States;

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity


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