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Stories about productivity

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  • Quiggin, John

Abstract

In this paper, it is argued that, given its relatively short duration and high year-to-year variability, the MFP data set does not contain enough information to allow clear statistical discrimination between competing hypotheses. As a result of this lack of information, combined with the human predilection for observing patterns, a range of alternative stories, each of which may be supported by an appropriate interpretation of the data, has been produced. Three such stories are described here. The first is the New Economy story put forward by Parham and others. The second story agrees with the first regarding the 1990s, but interprets the subsequent decline in productivity growth as the result of a failure to pursue microeconomic reform with sufficient vigour. The third story rejects the idea of a productivity miracle in the 1990s and argues instead that productivity growth rates experienced a sharp decline at the end of the postwar Golden Age around 1970, and that this decline has been sustained, although with fluctuations around the trend.

Suggested Citation

  • Quiggin, John, 2006. "Stories about productivity," Risk and Sustainable Management Group Working Papers 151514, University of Queensland, School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:uqsers:151514
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    File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/151514
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. McCloskey, Donald N, 1983. "The Rhetoric of Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 481-517, June.
    2. Hancock, K, 2005. "Productivity Growth In Australia 1964-65 To 2003-04," Australian Bulletin of Labour, National Institute of Labour Studies, vol. 31(1), pages 28-32.
    3. Parham, D, 2005. "Australiaʼs 1990s Productivity Surge: A Response to Keith Hancockʼs Challenge," Australian Bulletin of Labour, National Institute of Labour Studies, vol. 31(3), pages 295-303.
    4. McKenzie, Margaret, 2010. "Microeconomic reform and productivity in Australia - boom or blip," Economics Series eco_2010_15, Deakin University, Faculty of Business and Law, School of Accounting, Economics and Finance.
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    Cited by:

    1. Tisdell, Clem, 2014. "Information Technology's Impacts on Productivity, Welfare and Social Change: Second Version," Economic Theory, Applications and Issues Working Papers 195701, University of Queensland, School of Economics.
    2. Samantha Farmakis‐Gamboni & David Prentice, 2011. "When Does Reducing Union Bargaining Power Increase Productivity? Evidence from the Workplace Relations Act," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 87(279), pages 603-616, December.
    3. Ben Dolman, 2009. "What Happened to Australia's Productivity Surge?," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 42(3), pages 243-263.
    4. Jyoti Rahman & David Stephan & Gene Tunny, 2009. "Estimating trends in Australia's productivity," Treasury Working Papers 2009-01, The Treasury, Australian Government, revised Feb 2009.
    5. Shahiduzzaman, Md. & Alam, Khorshed, 2014. "Information technology and its changing roles to economic growth and productivity in Australia," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 125-135.
    6. Samantha Farmakis-Gamboni & David Prentice, 2007. "Does Reducing Union Bargaining Power Increase Productivity?," Working Papers 2007.04 EDIRC Provider-In, School of Economics, La Trobe University.
    7. John Edwards & David Gruen & John Quiggin, 2011. "Wrap-up Discussion," RBA Annual Conference Volume,in: Hugo Gerard & Jonathan Kearns (ed.), The Australian Economy in the 2000s Reserve Bank of Australia.
    8. Md Shahiduzzaman & Allan Layton & Khorshed Alam, 2015. "On the contribution of information and communication technology to productivity growth in Australia," Economic Change and Restructuring, Springer, vol. 48(3), pages 281-304, November.

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