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Multifactor Productivity and Labour Quality in Italy, 1981-2000


  • Andrea Brandolini

    () (Bank of Italy, Economic Research Department)

  • Piero Cipollone

    () (Bank of Italy, Economic Research Department)


We investigate how the evidence for Italy from simple growth accounting exercises is modified by more accurate measurements of inputs. We describe the dynamics of total factor productivity in the last 20 years in Italy, and review theoretical and measurement issues that complicate the picture emerging from this simple exercise. We adjust the labour input for its composition and verify its impact on estimated multifactor productivity in the whole economy. We replicate the labour-quality adjustment for the industrial sector together with corrections for hours worked and capital utilisation. We find that a sizeable part of the observed growth of total factor productivity vanishes when these adjustments are applied. They are not sufficient, however, to overturn the evidence of a productivity slowdown in the Italian economy in the second half of the 1990s.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrea Brandolini & Piero Cipollone, 2001. "Multifactor Productivity and Labour Quality in Italy, 1981-2000," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 422, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  • Handle: RePEc:bdi:wptemi:td_422_00

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Andreas Hornstein, 1999. "Growth accounting with technological revolutions," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Sum, pages 1-22.
    2. Andrea Bassanini & Stefano Scarpetta & Ignazio Visco, 2000. "Knowledge technology and economic growth: recent evidence from OECD countries," Working Paper Research 06, National Bank of Belgium.
    3. Stefano Scarpetta & Andrea Bassanini & Dirk Pilat & Paul Schreyer, 2000. "Economic Growth in the OECD Area: Recent Trends at the Aggregate and Sectoral Level," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 248, OECD Publishing.
    4. Andrea Brandolini & Piero Cipollone & Paolo Sestito, 2001. "Earnings Dispersion, Low Pay and Household Poverty in Italy, 1977-1998," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 427, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    5. Zvi Griliches, 1996. "The Discovery of the Residual: A Historical Note," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(3), pages 1324-1330, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Antonelli, Cristiano & Barbiellini Amidei, Federico, 2009. "Knowledge, innovation and localised technological change in Italy, 1950-1990," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis LEI & BRICK - Laboratory of Economics of Innovation "Franco Momigliano", Bureau of Research in Innovation, Complexity and Knowledge, Collegio 200913, University of Turin.
    2. Mary J. Keeney, 2010. "A Quality Adjusted Measure of Labour Services for Ireland," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 41(2), pages 149-172.
    3. Raffaello Bronzini & Paolo Piselli, 2006. "Determinants of long-run regional productivity: the role of R&D, human capital and public infrastructure," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 597, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    4. Andrea Pozzi & Fabiano Schivardi, 2016. "Demand or productivity: what determines firm growth?," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 47(3), pages 608-630, August.
    5. Altissimo, Filippo & Gaiotti, Eugenio & Locarno, Alberto, 2005. "Is money informative? Evidence from a large model used for policy analysis," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 285-304, March.
    6. Alessandro Sterlacchini & Francesco Venturini, 2014. "R&D and Productivity in High-Tech Manufacturing: A Comparison between Italy and Spain," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(5), pages 359-379, July.
    7. Aiello, Francesco & Pupo, Valeria & Ricotta, Fernand, 2011. "Explaining TFP at firm level in Italy. Does location matter?," MPRA Paper 35656, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Audi, Marc & Ali, Amjad, 2017. "Socio-Economic Development, Demographic Changes and Total Labor Productivity in Pakistan: A Co-Integrational and Decomposition Analysis," MPRA Paper 77538, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Alessandro Sterlacchini & Francesco Venturini, 2013. "Boosting Manufacturing Productivity Through R&D: International Comparisons with Special Focus on Italy," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 13(2), pages 187-208, June.
    10. Athanasoglou, Panayiotis P. & Georgiou, Evangelia A. & Staikouras, Christos C., 2009. "Assessing output and productivity growth in the banking industry," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 1317-1340, November.
    11. Bronzini, Raffaello & Piselli, Paolo, 2009. "Determinants of long-run regional productivity with geographical spillovers: The role of R&D, human capital and public infrastructure," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 187-199, March.
    12. Matteo Bugamelli & Patrizio Pagano, 2004. "Barriers to investment in ICT," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(20), pages 2275-2286.
    13. Aiello, Francesco & Pupo, Valeria & Ricotta, Fernanda, 2013. "Firm heterogeneity in TFP, sectoral innovation and geography. Evidence from Italy," MPRA Paper 48573, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. Andrea Brandolini & Piero Casadio & Piero Cipollone & Marco Magnani & Alfonso Rosolia, 2007. "Employment Growth in Italy in the 1990s: Institutional Arrangements and Market Forces," AIEL Series in Labour Economics,in: Nicola Acocella & Riccardo Leoni (ed.), Social Pacts, Employment and Growth. A Reappraisal of Ezio Tarantelli’s Thought, edition 1, chapter 4, pages 31-68 AIEL - Associazione Italiana Economisti del Lavoro.
    15. Fachin, Stefano & Gavosto, Andrea, 2007. "The decline in Italian productivity: a study in estimation of long-Run trends in Total Factor Productivity with panel cointegration methods," MPRA Paper 3112, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. Silvia Sgherri, 2005. "Long-Run Productivity Shifts and Cyclical Fluctuations; Evidence for Italy," IMF Working Papers 05/228, International Monetary Fund.
    17. Jacopo Zotti, 2015. "The Long Italian Stagnation and the Welfare Effects of Outsourcing," Working Papers 2015.105, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    18. Francesco Aiello & Valeria Pupo & Fernanda Ricotta, 2014. "Explaining Total Factor Productivity at Firm Level in Italy: Does Location Matter?," Spatial Economic Analysis, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(1), pages 51-70, March.

    More about this item


    growth accounting; Solow residual; quality-adjusted labour input;

    JEL classification:

    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity


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