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The French productivity puzzle

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  • Philippe Askenazy

    () (PSE - Paris School of Economics - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres)

  • Christine Erhel

    () (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, CEE - Centre d'études de l'emploi - M.E.N.E.S.R. - Ministère de l'Education nationale, de l’Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche - Ministère du Travail, de l'Emploi et de la Santé)

Abstract

Since 2008, France experiences a sharp productivity slowdown. Both output per hour and total factor productivity are particularly deceptive in the market economy. This recent trend contrasts with the acceleration of productivity during the previous crisis in the 1990's and the continuous increase during the following decade. This text provides the first comprehensive exploration of this puzzling break. The direct impacts of the Great Recession on industry composition or reallocation of capital are not significant suspects for a slowdown occurring across business activities. Labour market mechanisms are better candidates. On the one hand, the French labour market policy has massively boosted the creation of low-productive jobs including very-short term employees and self-employed workers. On the other hand, firms, which benefit from massive tax cuts, have hoarded their high-skilled workforce. In addition, the spread of innovative HRM incentives, e.g. employee shareholding, seems to have turned productivity more sensitive to the business cycle (and especially to the fall of stock markets).
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Suggested Citation

  • Philippe Askenazy & Christine Erhel, 2016. "The French productivity puzzle," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-01300987, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:cesptp:halshs-01300987
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01300987
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    as
    1. Ronald B. Davies & Julien Martin & Mathieu Parenti & Farid Toubal, 2018. "Knocking on Tax Haven’s Door: Multinational Firms and Transfer Pricing," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 100(1), pages 120-134, March.
    2. Philippe Aghion & Philippe Askenazy & Nicolas Berman & Gilbert Cette & Laurent Eymard, 2012. "Credit Constraints And The Cyclicality Of R&D Investment: Evidence From France," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(5), pages 1001-1024, October.
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    5. Askenazy, Philippe & Erhel, Christine, 2015. "The French Productivity Puzzle," IZA Discussion Papers 9188, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
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    7. Philippe Askenazy & Lutz Bellmann & Alex Bryson & Eva Moreno Galbis, 2016. "Productivity Puzzles Across Europe," PSE-Ecole d'économie de Paris (Postprint) halshs-01379283, HAL.
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    14. Askenazy, Philippe, 2013. "Capital Prices and Eurozone Competitiveness Differentials," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Docweb) 1301, CEPREMAP.
    15. Askenazy, Philippe & Chevalier, Martin & Erhel, Christine, 2015. "Okun’s Laws Differentiated by Education," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Docweb) 1514, CEPREMAP.
    16. Philippe Aghion & Philippe Askenazy & Nicolas Berman & Gilberte Cette & Laurent Eymard, 2012. "Credit Constraints and the Cyclicality of R&D Investment: Evidence from Micro Panel data," PSE-Ecole d'économie de Paris (Postprint) halshs-00754573, HAL.
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    20. Ronald B. Davies & Julien Martin & Mathieu Parenti & Farid Toubal, 2018. "Knocking on Tax Haven’s Door: Multinational Firms and Transfer Pricing," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 100(1), pages 120-134, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Eichhorst, Werner & Marx, Paul, 2019. "How Stable Is Labour Market Dualism? Reforms of Employment Protection in Nine European Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 12309, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Askenazy, Philippe & Erhel, Christine, 2015. "The French Productivity Puzzle," IZA Discussion Papers 9188, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. J. Morenas & B. Rudelle, 2016. "Money and its counterparts in France and in the euro area," Quarterly selection of articles - Bulletin de la Banque de France, Banque de France, issue 43, pages 25-34, Autumn.
    4. Thomas Amossé & Philippe Askenazy & Martin Chevalier & Christine Erhel & Héloïse Petit & Antoine Rebérioux, 2016. "Industrial Relations and Firms’ Reactions to the Recession: A Comparative Micro-Econometric Analysis of France and Great Britain [Relations sociales et ajustements à la crise : une analyse micro-st," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) hal-02172455, HAL.
    5. John Fernald, 2018. "Cyclical Downturn or Slowing Trend? A Review Article on Productivity Puzzles across Europe," International Productivity Monitor, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, vol. 34, pages 110-117, Spring.
    6. A. Berthou, 2016. "Current account adjustments and productivity dynamics in Europe during the crisis," Quarterly selection of articles - Bulletin de la Banque de France, Banque de France, issue 43, pages 59-70, Autumn.
    7. Bart van Ark & Kirsten Jäger, 2017. "Recent Trends in Europe's Output and Productivity Growth Performance at the Sector Level, 2002-2015," International Productivity Monitor, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, vol. 33, pages 8-23, Fall.
    8. V. Bignon & F. Boissay & C. Cahn & L.-M. Harpedanne de Belleville, 2016. "Extended eligibility of credit claims for Eurosystem refinancing Consequences for the supply of credit to companies," Quarterly selection of articles - Bulletin de la Banque de France, Banque de France, issue 43, pages 15-23, Autumn.
    9. Askenazy, Philippe & Chevalier, Martin & Erhel, Christine, 2015. "Okun’s Laws Differentiated by Education," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Docweb) 1514, CEPREMAP.
    10. Thomas Grjebine & Jérôme Héricourt & Fabien Tripier, 2019. "Sectoral Reallocations, Real Estate Shocks and Productivity Divergence in Europe: a Tale of Three Countries," EconPol Policy Reports 15, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    11. Thomas Grjebine & Jérôme Héricourt & Fabien Tripier, 2019. "Sectoral reallocations, Real estate shocks, and productivity divergence in Europe," Working Papers 2019-09, CEPII research center.
    12. R. Cezar, 2016. "France’s trade integration measured in value added," Quarterly selection of articles - Bulletin de la Banque de France, Banque de France, issue 43, pages 47-58, Autumn.
    13. V. Grossmann-Wirth & M. Vari, 2016. "Exiting low interest rates in a situation of excess liquidity: the experience of the Fed," Quarterly selection of articles - Bulletin de la Banque de France, Banque de France, issue 43, pages 5-14, Autumn.
    14. Gilbert Cette & Simon Corde & Rémy Lecat, 2017. "Stagnation of productivity in France: A legacy of the crisis or a structural slowdown?," Economie et Statistique / Economics and Statistics, Institut National de la Statistique et des Études Économiques (INSEE), issue 494-495-4, pages 11-36.
    15. Catherine Bruneau & Pierre-Luis Girard, 2021. "Labor Productivity in France: Is the Slowdown of its Growth Inevitable or are there Levers to fight it?," Athens Journal of Business & Economics, Athens Institute for Education and Research (ATINER), vol. 7(1), pages 9-40, January.
    16. Philippe Askenazy & Christine Erhel, 2017. "La productivité du travail en déclin : quels liens avec les transformations du marché du travail ?," Post-Print hal-02138346, HAL.
    17. C. Guette-Khiter, 2016. "Non-resident holdings of French CAC 40 companies at end-2015," Quarterly selection of articles - Bulletin de la Banque de France, Banque de France, issue 43, pages 35-46, Autumn.
    18. Peter Bauer & Igor Fedotenkov & Aurelien Genty & Issam Hallak & Peter Harasztosi & David Martinez Turegano & David Nguyen & Nadir Preziosi & Ana Rincon-Aznar & Miguel Sanchez Martinez, 2020. "Productivity in Europe: Trends and drivers in a service-based economy," JRC Working Papers JRC119785, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    19. Guillaume Cléaud & Francisco de Castro Fernández & Jorge Durán Laguna & Lucia Granelli & Martin Hallet & Anne Jaubertie & Carlos Maravall Rodriguez & Diana Ognyanova & Balazs Palvolgyi & Tsvetan Tsali, 2019. "Cruising at Different Speeds: Similarities and Divergences between the German and the French Economies," European Economy - Discussion Papers 2015 - 103, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    productivity; labour market; France;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
    • J20 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - General
    • D20 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - General
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity

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