Catching-up, then falling behind: Comparative productivity growth between Spain and the United Kingdom, 1950-2004
The pattern of Spanish comparative labor productivity performance in the period 1950-2004 is underpinned by distinctive sectoral trends. From 1950 until the mid-1970s, Spain narrowed the aggregate labor productivity gap with Britain by shifting resources out of agriculture and by improving its comparative labor productivity position across most sectors, out of which manufacturing plays a central role. Significant improvements in comparative efficiency and the dynamic pace of comparative capital intensity characterize the catch-up phase. In the period 1975-1990 convergence stagnates. In spite of the continual shift of resources out of agriculture and the good comparative performance of small sectors, such as utilities, transport and communication, and agri- culture itself, comparative labor productivity was adversely affected by the catching-up exhaustion of manufacturing and construction and by the deterioration of comparative labor productivity in services. A dramatic slowdown in efficiency gains characterizes the plateau phase. Lastly, Spain has widened the aggregate labor productivity gap since the early 1990s. The deterioration of Spain's relative productivity position with Britain has affected all sectors except agriculture. Efficiency stagnation characterizes the divergence phase.
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