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Needed: a theory of total factor productivity

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  • Edward C. Prescott

Abstract

This paper evaluates the argument that differences in physical and intangible capital can account for the large international income differences that characterize the world economy today. The finding is that they cannot. Savings rate differences are of minor importance. What is all-important is total factor productivity. In addition, the paper presents industry evidence that total factor productivities differ across countries and time for reasons other than differences in the publicly available stock of technical knowledge. These findings lead me to conclude a theory of TFP is needed. This theory must account for differences in TFP that arise for reasons other than growth in the stock of technical knowledge.

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  • Edward C. Prescott, 1997. "Needed: a theory of total factor productivity," Staff Report 242, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmsr:242
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    Keywords

    Productivity; Income distribution;

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