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Revisiting recent productivity developments across OECD countries

Author

Listed:
  • Bruno Tissot
  • Les Skoczylas

Abstract

This paper compares productivity developments across industrial countries based on official OECD data in the business sector. It discusses the uncertainties surrounding the measurement of both productivity levels and productivity growth, and then focuses on changes in productivity growth. The paper analyses labour productivity patterns and trends of total factor productivity (TFP) across countries. The recent performance of the United States clearly stands out. In particular, the level of US labour productivity appears to be the highest among the major industrial countries and has been rising the fastest in the recent past. Despite substantial uncertainties surrounding these international comparisons, there is little doubt that the US performance has improved sharply in relative terms. Productivity has accelerated in the United States but decelerated in most other industrial economies. Indeed, only a few countries have experienced a structural improvement in their productivity performance over recent years. Moreover, rather than just reflecting stronger capital accumulation, the US performance has been associated with a higher rate of technological progress that was maintained during the latest recession. In contrast, the accumulation of capital has been quite strong in most other major industrial economies. This might be a source of concern in some places, given the observed trend decline in the rate of technical progress.

Suggested Citation

  • Bruno Tissot & Les Skoczylas, 2005. "Revisiting recent productivity developments across OECD countries," BIS Working Papers 182, Bank for International Settlements.
  • Handle: RePEc:bis:biswps:182
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Charles Steindel, 2004. "The relationship between manufacturing production and goods output," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 10(Aug).
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    4. Nadim Ahmad & François Lequiller & Pascal Marianna & Dirk Pilat & Paul Schreyer & Anita Wölfl, 2003. "Comparing Labour Productivity Growth in the OECD Area: The Role of Measurement," OECD Science, Technology and Industry Working Papers 2003/14, OECD Publishing.
    5. Olivier Blanchard, 2004. "The Economic Future of Europe," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(4), pages 3-26, Fall.
    6. Susanto Basu & John G. Fernald & Nicholas Oulton & Sylaja Srinivasan, 2003. "The case of the missing productivity growth: or, does information technology explain why productivity accelerated in the United States but not the United Kingdom?," Working Paper Series WP-03-08, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    7. Christophe Kamps, 2006. "New Estimates of Government Net Capital Stocks for 22 OECD Countries, 1960-2001," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 53(1), pages 1-6.
    8. Comin Diego A, 2006. "Using Investment Data to Assess the Importance of Price Mismeasurement," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 6(1), pages 1-42, April.
    9. Dirk Pilat, 1996. "Labour Productivity Levels in OECD Countries: Estimates for Manufacturing and Selected Service Sectors," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 169, OECD Publishing.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. George M. von Furstenberg & Ulf von Kalckreuth, 2007. "Dependence on External Finance by Manufacturing Sector: Examining the Measure and its Properties," Economie Internationale, CEPII research center, issue 111, pages 55-80.
    2. Gloria Alonso Masmela & Juan Nicólas Hernández & José David Pulido & Martha Lucía Villa, 2008. "Medidas Alternativas De Tasa De Cambio Real Para Colombia," BORRADORES DE ECONOMIA 004679, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA.
    3. George Furstenberg & Ulf Kalckreuth, 2006. "Dependence on External Finance: An Inherent Industry Characteristic?," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 17(4), pages 541-559, December.
    4. Rannenberg, Ansgar, 2008. "Disinflation and the NAIRU in a New-Keynesian New-Growth Model," MPRA Paper 9346, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Ansgar, Rannenberg, 2009. "Disinflation and the NAIRU in a New-Keynesian New-Growth Model (Extended Version)," MPRA Paper 13610, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Ansgar Rannenberg, 2009. "Shocks, Monetary Policy and Institutions: Explaining Unemployment Persistence in "Europe" and the United States," CDMA Working Paper Series 200903, Centre for Dynamic Macroeconomic Analysis.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    productivity; international comparisons; industrial countries; statistical uncertainty; technological progress; labour force; capital stock; time trend; business cycle;

    JEL classification:

    • C20 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - General
    • C82 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Macroeconomic Data; Data Access
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • F01 - International Economics - - General - - - Global Outlook
    • N10 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence
    • O50 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - General
    • Q30 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - General

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