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A comparison of Structural Productivity Levels in the Major Industrialised Countries

  • Bourlès, R.
  • Cette, G.

Hourly labour productivity levels in a number of European countries are thought to be very close to, or possibly even higher than the level 'observed' in the United States. At the same time, however, there are big differentials between hours worked and/or employment rates in these countries and in the United States. Frequent mention is also made of the theory of diminishing returns to hours worked and the employment rate. The object of the analysis proposed here is to adjust the 'observed' levels of hourly productivity for the effect of the differentials (with the United States) in the hours worked and/or employment rates of several categories of the population of working age in order to calculate 'structural' hourly productivity. The results obtained confirm the diminishing returns to hours worked and the employment rate (especially where young and elderly people are concerned). The level of 'structural' hourly productivity appears to be highest in the United States, suggesting that the differential between per capita GDP in the European countries and in the United States is attributable to hours worked and employment rates being at lower levels, and also to lower 'structural' hourly productivity.

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Paper provided by Banque de France in its series Working papers with number 133.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bfr:banfra:133
Contact details of provider: Postal: Banque de France 31 Rue Croix des Petits Champs LABOLOG - 49-1404 75049 PARIS
Web page: http://www.banque-france.fr/

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  15. Cette, G. & Strauss-Kahn, M-O., 2003. "Productivité horaire et PIB par tête aux États-Unis et en France — Comparaisons et recommandations," Bulletin de la Banque de France, Banque de France, issue 120, pages 39-58.
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