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Productivity Growth and Levels in France, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States in the Twentieth Century

Author

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  • Cette, G.
  • Kocoglu, Y.
  • Mairesse, J.

Abstract

This study compares labor and total factor productivity (TFP) in France, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States in the very long (since 1890) and medium (since 1980) runs. During the past century, the United States has overtaken the United Kingdom and become the leading world economy. During the past 25 years, the four countries have also experienced contrasting advances in productivity, in particular as a result of unequal investment in information and communication technology (ICT). The past 120 years have been characterized by: (i) rapid economic growth and large productivity gains in all four countries; (ii) a long decline in productivity in the United Kingdom relative to the United States, and to a lesser extent also relative to France and Japan, a relative decline that was interrupted by the second world war (WW2); (iii) the remarkable catching-up to the United States by France and Japan after WW2, interrupted in the case of Japan during the 1990s. Capital deepening (at least to the extent this can be measured) accounts for a large share of the variations in performance; increasingly during the past 25 years, this has meant ICT capital deepening. However, the capital contribution to growth varies considerably over time and across the four countries, and it is always less important, except in Japan, than the contribution of the various other factors underlying TFP growth, such as, among others, labor skills, technical and organizational changes and knowledge spillovers. Most recently (in 2006), before the current financial world crisis, hourly labor productivity levels were slightly higher in France than in the United States, and noticeably lower in the United Kingdom (by roughly 10%) and even lower in Japan (30%), while TFP levels are very close in France, the United Kingdom and the United States, but much lower (40%) in Japan.

Suggested Citation

  • Cette, G. & Kocoglu, Y. & Mairesse, J., 2010. "Productivity Growth and Levels in France, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States in the Twentieth Century," Working papers 271, Banque de France.
  • Handle: RePEc:bfr:banfra:271
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. A. Bergeaud & G. Cette & R. Lecat, 2015. "GDP per capita in advanced countries over the 20th century," Working papers 549, Banque de France.
    2. Gilbert Cette & Christian Clerc & Lea Bresson, 2015. "Contribution of ICT Diffusion to Labour Productivity Growth: The United States, Canada, the Eurozone, and the United Kingdom, 1970-2013," International Productivity Monitor, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, vol. 28, pages 81-88, Spring.
    3. Vincent Vicard & Emmanuelle Lavallée, 2013. "National borders matter...where one draws the lines too," Post-Print hal-01548193, HAL.
    4. François Facchini & Mickael Melki, 2014. "Political Ideology And Economic Growth: Evidence From The French Democracy," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 52(4), pages 1408-1426, October.
    5. Larry Jones & Alice Schoonbrodt, 2016. "Baby Busts and Baby Booms: The Fertility Response to Shocks in Dynastic Models," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 22, pages 157-178, October.
    6. repec:bfr:rueban:7 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Bergeaud, A. & Cette, G. & Lecat, R., 2015. "Productivity trends from 1890 to 2012 in advanced countries," Rue de la Banque, Banque de France, issue 07, June..
    8. Robert Shackelton, 2013. "Total Factor Productivity Growth in Historical Perspective: Working Paper 2013-01," Working Papers 44002, Congressional Budget Office.
    9. Stéphane CIRIANI & Pascal PERIN, 2015. "Current Perspectives on the Employment Impact of Digital Technologies," Communications & Strategies, IDATE, Com&Strat dept., vol. 1(100), pages 145-163, 4th quart.
    10. Diego Comin & Bart Hobijn, 2011. "Technology Diffusion and Postwar Growth," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2010, Volume 25, pages 209-246 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Gilbert Cette & Rémy Lecat & Carole Ly-Marin, 2017. "Long-term growth and productivity projections in advanced countries," OECD Journal: Economic Studies, OECD Publishing, vol. 2016(1), pages 71-90.
    12. Gilbert CETTE, 2015. "Which Role for ICTs as a Productivity Driver Over the Last Years and the Next Future?," Communications & Strategies, IDATE, Com&Strat dept., vol. 1(100), pages 65-83, 4th quart.
    13. Cette, G. & Clerc, C. & Bresson, L., 2015. "Diffusion et contribution à la croissance des TIC aux États-Unis, dans la zone euro et au Royaume-Uni," Bulletin de la Banque de France, Banque de France, issue 200, pages 83-90.
    14. Cette, G. & Clerc, C. & Bresson, L., 2016. "Contribution of information and communication technologies (ICT) to growth," Rue de la Banque, Banque de France, issue 22, April..
    15. Gilbert Cette, 2014. "Does ICT Remain a Powerful Engine of Growth," Post-Print hal-01463929, HAL.
    16. François Facchini & Mickaël Melki, 2013. "Political Ideology and Economic Growth: Evidence from the French Democracy," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 13077, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
    17. Larry Jones & Alice Schoonbrodt, 2016. "Baby Busts and Baby Booms: The Fertility Response to Shocks in Dynastic Models," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 22, pages 157-178, October.
    18. A. Bergeaud & G. Cette & R. Lecat, 2016. "The role of production factor quality and technology diffusion in 20th century productivity growth," Working papers 588, Banque de France.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Productivity; growth accounting; macro-economic history.;

    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
    • O57 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries
    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • N10 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - General, International, or Comparative

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