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Comparing Labour Productivity Growth in the OECD Area: The Role of Measurement

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  • Nadim Ahmad
  • François Lequiller
  • Pascal Marianna
  • Dirk Pilat
  • Paul Schreyer
  • Anita Wölfl

Abstract

This paper examines how measurement problems affect international comparisons of labour productivity. It suggests that these measurement problems do not significantly affect the assessment of aggregate productivity patterns in the OECD area. However, these problems do influence the more detailed assessment of productivity growth, notably the role of specific sectors and demand components in aggregate performance. The paper shows that there are only a few significant problems regarding the comparability of nominal GDP across OECD countries, the most important being the treatment of software investment. In most cases, efforts are underway to reduce the size of these differences. Measurement differences for real GDP are also important, although several of these factors have impacts that work in different directions. Moreover, several of these problems primarily affect the distribution of total GDP across different expenditure categories and across different activities, not necessarily ... Comparaisons de la croissance de la productivité de la main-d'œuvre au niveau de la zone de l'OCDE : L'importance des questions de mesure Le présent document examine en quoi les problèmes de mesure affectent les comparaisons internationales de la productivité de la main-d’œuvre. Il montre que ces problèmes n’ont pas de répercussions notables sur l’évaluation du profil général d’évolution de la productivité dans la zone de l’OCDE. Par contre, ils ont une influence dès lors qu’on veut pousser plus avant l’analyse de la croissance de la productivité, notamment déterminer la part qui est imputable à un secteur particulier ou à telle ou telle composante de la demande. Les auteurs observent que la comparabilité entre pays de l’OCDE des données sur le PIB nominal soulève peu de problèmes importants et que le principal de ces derniers est lié au traitement des investissements en logiciels. Dans la plupart des cas, des efforts sont déployés pour réduire l’ampleur de ces divergences. Les disparités au niveau de la mesure du PIB réel sont également importantes, même si elles ne jouent pas toutes dans la même direction. Qui plus ...

Suggested Citation

  • Nadim Ahmad & François Lequiller & Pascal Marianna & Dirk Pilat & Paul Schreyer & Anita Wölfl, 2003. "Comparing Labour Productivity Growth in the OECD Area: The Role of Measurement," OECD Statistics Working Papers 2003/5, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:stdaaa:2003/5-en
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/838342850485
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