Climbing the Technology Ladder Too Fast? An International Comparison of Productivity in South and East- Asian Manufacturing, 1963-1993
This paper provides a star comparison of manufacturing productivity levels in China, India, Indonesia, South Korea and Taiwan with the US as the reference country for the period 1963-1993. South Korea and Taiwan showed prolonged catch up in labour productivity with the US, whereas the other countries had long periods of relative stagnation. This is reflected in relative performance of seven detailed manufacturing branches. Physical capital per hour worked in the Asian countries is still well below the US level and there are abundant opportunities for further capital intensification. Relative total factor productivity levels in South-Korean and Taiwanese manufacturing are much lower than in the US in all manufacturing branches. The same is true for India and Indonesia compared to South Korea and Taiwan. Hence, late industrializers do not automatically benefit from the increasing global pool of technologies.
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