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The Canada-US Productivity Growth Paradox: an Economic or a Statistical Puzzle?


  • Coulombe, S.


Productivity data on the business sector, which covers around 75% of the economy, provide important information on the evolution of living standards. The data on multifactor productivity (MFP) growth and labor productivity growth produced by the official statistical agency in Canada (Statistics Canada) and the US (the Bureau of Labor Statistics, or the BLS) send mixed signals regarding the comparative evolution of living standards in the two countries. Since the early 1980s Statistics Canada's MFP growth measures for the business sector indicate that the Canadian economy has outperformed the US economy while labour productivity data produce a reverse picture. This is the Canada-US Productivity Paradox. In this study, we investigate the Productivity Paradox with an analysis of Canadian and US business sector productivity data since 1961.

Suggested Citation

  • Coulombe, S., 2000. "The Canada-US Productivity Growth Paradox: an Economic or a Statistical Puzzle?," Working Papers 0001e, University of Ottawa, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ott:wpaper:0001e

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    JEL classification:

    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence
    • O51 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - U.S.; Canada
    • C43 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Index Numbers and Aggregation
    • C82 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Macroeconomic Data; Data Access
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being


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