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Why has the Employment-Productivity Tradeoff among Industrialized Countries been so strong?

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  • Paul Beaudry
  • Fabrice Collard

Abstract

This paper is motivated by a set of cross-country observations on labor productivity growth among industrial countries over the period 1960-1997. In particular, we show that over this period, the speed of convergence among industrialized countries has decreased substantially while the negative effect of a country's own employment growth (or labor force growth) on labor productivity has increased dramatically. The main contribution of the paper is to show how these observations are consistent with the view that industrialized countries have been undergoing a particularly drastic technological revolution over the recent past. In effect, we show how the process of endogenous technological adoption, following the diffusion of a general purpose technology, can explain these observations by causing the emergence of an AK accumulation phase where demographic factors temporarily become an major determinant of labor productivity growth. Our estimation of the model implies that the AK phase has been in effect since the early to mid-seventies, but that this phase may now be coming to an end. An important contribution of the paper is to analyze growth experiences across advanced industrialized countries within an open economy framework and to evaluate the explanation by estimating a multicountry dynamic general model.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul Beaudry & Fabrice Collard, 2002. "Why has the Employment-Productivity Tradeoff among Industrialized Countries been so strong?," NBER Working Papers 8754, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8754
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bresnahan, Timothy F. & Trajtenberg, M., 1995. "General purpose technologies 'Engines of growth'?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 83-108, January.
    2. Joseph Zeira, 1998. "Workers, Machines, and Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1091-1117.
    3. Susanto Basu & David N. Weil, 1998. "Appropriate Technology and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1025-1054.
    4. Daron Acemoglu, 1999. "Changes in Unemployment and Wage Inequality: An Alternative Theory and Some Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1259-1278, December.
    5. Robert M. Solow, 1956. "A Contribution to the Theory of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(1), pages 65-94.
    6. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1992. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 407-437.
    7. Jaume Ventura, 1997. "Growth and Interdependence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(1), pages 57-84.
    8. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth Rogoff, 2001. "The Six Major Puzzles in International Macroeconomics: Is There a Common Cause?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2000, Volume 15, pages 339-412, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Francesco Caselli, 1999. "Technological Revolutions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 78-102, March.
    10. Dale W. Jorgenson & Kevin J. Stiroh, 2000. "Raising the Speed Limit: U.S. Economic Growth in the Information Age," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 31(1), pages 125-236.
    11. Paul Beaudry & David Green, 1998. "What is Driving US and Canadian Wages: Exogenous Technical Change or Endogenous Choice of Technique?," NBER Working Papers 6853, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Paul Beaudry & David Green, 2000. "The Changing Structure of Wages in the US and Germany: What Explains the Differences?," NBER Working Papers 7697, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models

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