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Productivity or Employment; Is It a Choice?

Author

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  • Andrea De Michelis
  • Marcello M. Estevão
  • Beth Anne Wilson

Abstract

Traditionally, shocks to total factor productivity (TFP) are considered exogenous and the employment response depends on their effect on aggregate demand. We raise the possibility that in response to labor supply shocks firms adjust efficiency, rendering TFP endogenous to firms’ production decisions. We present robust cross-country evidence of a strong negative correlation between growth in TFP and labor inputs over the medium to long run. In addition, when using instruments to capture changes in hours worked that are independent of TFP shocks, we find that cross-country increases in labor input cause reductions in TFP growth. These results have important policy implications, including that low productivity growth in some countries may partly be a side effect of strong labor market performance. By the same token, countries facing a declining workforce, say, because of aging, may see accelerating TFP as firms find better ways of employing workers.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrea De Michelis & Marcello M. Estevão & Beth Anne Wilson, 2013. "Productivity or Employment; Is It a Choice?," IMF Working Papers 13/97, International Monetary Fund.
  • Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:13/97
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Barbara M. Fraumeni, 2013. "Comments on "Productivity or Employment: Is It a Choice?"," International Productivity Monitor, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, vol. 25, pages 61-64, Spring.
    2. Yellen, Janet L., 2011. "Improving the international monetary and financial system : a speech at the Banque de France International Symposium, Paris, France, March 4, 2011," Speech 565, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    3. Camille Hémet, 2015. "Diversity and employment prospects: neighbors matter!," Working Papers 2015/4, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    4. Jianmin Tang, 2015. "Employment and Productivity: Exploring the Trade-off," International Productivity Monitor, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, vol. 28, pages 63-80, Spring.
    5. Jesús Cuaresma & Harald Oberhofer & Gallina Vincelette, 2014. "Institutional barriers and job creation in Central and Eastern Europe," IZA Journal of European Labor Studies, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 3(1), pages 1-29, December.
    6. Oberhofer, Harald & Vincelette, Gallina A, 2013. "Determinants of job creation in eleven new EU member states : evidence from firm level data," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6533, The World Bank.
    7. Bernanke, Ben S., 2014. "The Federal Reserve: Looking Back, Looking Forward : a speech at the Annual Meeting of the American Economic Association, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, January 3, 2014," Speech 792, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Employment; External shocks; Labor supply; Labor productivity; Productivity; Total factor productivity; employment performance; technology choices; tfp; recession; Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; General;

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