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The French Productivity Puzzle

Author

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  • Askenazy, Philippe

    () (CNRS)

  • Erhel, Christine

    () (University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne)

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).

Suggested Citation

  • Askenazy, Philippe & Erhel, Christine, 2015. "The French Productivity Puzzle," IZA Discussion Papers 9188, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp9188
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    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.
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    1. repec:sls:ipmsls:v:33:y:2017:1 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Askenazy, Philippe & Erhel, Christine, 2015. "The French Productivity Puzzle," IZA Discussion Papers 9188, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    productivity slowdown; France; labour market policies; recession;

    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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