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Employment-Productivity Trade-off and Labour Composition

Author

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  • Hervé Boulhol

    (OECD)

  • Laure Turner

    (OECD)

Abstract

This paper formalises the analysis of the employment-productivity trade-off by extending the framework developed by Gordon (1997) to account for labour heterogeneity. The extent of the trade-off is determined by the extent of the adjustment of capital to effective labour and by the changes in aggregate labour quality. The main experiment reported in the paper consists of assessing the labour utilisation and productivity impacts in OECD countries of aligning group-specific employment rates to the US levels. Matching the US employment performance defined in that sense would enable low-employment OECD countries to reduce only half of the aggregate employment-rate gap vis-à-vis the United States, the other half being mechanically due to differences in the population structure by age and educational attainment. In this experiment, a 1% gain in employment is associated with a decrease of 0.24% in labour productivity on average across countries, and of 0.35% in low-employment countries. Compromis emploi - productivité et effets de composition Cette étude formalise l’analyse du compromis entre emploi et productivité en étendant le cadre développé par Gordon (1997) pour prendre en compte l’hétérogénéité de la main-d’oeuvre. L’ampleur de ce compromis est déterminée par l’étendue de l’ajustement du capital à la main-d’oeuvre effective et par les changements dans la qualité de la main-d’oeuvre. La principale expérience rapportée dans l’étude consiste en l’évaluation de l’impact sur l’utilisation de la main-d’oeuvre et sur la productivité du travail de l’alignement, pour chaque pays de l’OCDE, des taux d’emplois par groupe de population sur ceux des États-Unis. Répliquant la performance des États-Unis ainsi définie permettrait aux pays de l’OCDE ayant un faible niveau d’emplois de réduire seulement la moitié de l’écart de taux d’emploi agrégé vis-à-vis des États-Unis, l’autre moitié étant due mécaniquement à la structure de la population par âge et niveau d’éducation. Dans cette expérience, des gains de 1% en termes d’emplois sont associés à une baisse de 0.24% de la productivité du travail en moyenne pour les pays de l’OCDE et de 0.35% pour les pays ayant les niveaux d’emplois les plus bas.

Suggested Citation

  • Hervé Boulhol & Laure Turner, 2009. "Employment-Productivity Trade-off and Labour Composition," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 698, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:698-en
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/224146182015
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bloom, David E. & Canning, David & Fink, Gunther & Finlay, Jocelyn E., 2007. "Does age structure forecast economic growth?," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 569-585.
    2. Martin Werding, 2008. "Ageing and Productivity Growth: Are there Macro-level Cohort Effects of Human Capital?," CESifo Working Paper Series 2207, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Hervé Boulhol, 2009. "The Effects of Population Structure on Employment and Productivity," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 684, OECD Publishing.
    4. Beaudry, Paul & Collard, Fabrice, 2001. "The Employment-Productivity Tradeoff around the 1980s : A Case for Medium Run Theory," IDEI Working Papers 137, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse, revised 2003.
    5. Renaud Bourlès & Gilbert Cette, 2006. "A comparison of structural productivity levels in the major industrialised countries," OECD Economic Studies, OECD Publishing, vol. 2005(2), pages 75-108.
    6. Gust, Christopher & Marquez, Jaime, 2004. "International comparisons of productivity growth: the role of information technology and regulatory practices," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 33-58, February.
    7. Hubert Strauss & Christine de la Maisonneuve, 2007. "The Wage Premium on Tertiary Education: New Estimates for 21 OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 589, OECD Publishing.
    8. Guido Schwerdt & Jarkko Turunen, 2007. "Growth In Euro Area Labor Quality," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 53(4), pages 716-734, December.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Junankar, Pramod N. (Raja), 2013. "Is there a Trade-off between Employment and Productivity?," IZA Discussion Papers 7717, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Clément Bosquet & Michel Fouquin, 2008. "Productivité du travail : la fin du processus de convergence ?," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 419(1), pages 125-142.
    3. 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.
    4. Øivind A. Nilsen & Arvid Raknerud & Marina Rybalka & Terje Skjerpen, 2011. "The Importance Of Skill Measurement For Growth Accounting," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 57(2), pages 293-305, June.
    5. Renaud Bourlès & Gilbert Cette & Anastasia Cozarenco, 2012. "Employment and Productivity: Disentangling Employment Structure and Qualification Effects," International Productivity Monitor, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, vol. 23, pages 44-54, Spring.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    aggregate employment; demographics; démographie; emploi agrégé; labour productivity; productivité du travail; quality of labour; qualité de l'emploi;

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J10 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - General
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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