IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ris/prodsw/0703.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Can Australia Match US Productivity Performance?

Author

Listed:
  • Ben Dolman
  • Dean Parham
  • Simon Zheng

    (Productivity Commission)

Abstract

The Productivity Commission released a Staff Working Paper ‘Can Australia Match US Productivity Performance?’ (by Ben Dolman, Dean Parham and Simon Zheng) in March 2007. The paper considers whether it is feasible for Australia to match the US level of productivity. While other countries have caught up with — and even surpassed — US productivity, Australia’s catch-up has been comparatively modest and patchy. International comparisons of productivity are useful, but also have hazards. Countries’ productivity levels can vary for reasons apart from technology and efficiency. It is more meaningful to compare performance at the industry level. Some Australian industries have kept pace with their US counterparts at the productivity frontier. Other industries appear to have maintained sizeable gaps or even fallen further behind US productivity levels, in particular in manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, utilities, communications and finance. The paper considers the extent to which geography, settlement and education have constrained, and will continue to constrain, Australia’s ability to catch up in these industries and overall. The paper concludes that Australia is well placed to keep pace with resurgent US productivity growth. It is feasible for Australia to do even better and to catch up to some extent on US productivity — although it will not be automatic and may require further policy and institutional change. But the level of US productivity should not be regarded as a target which Australia can realistically achieve over coming decades. The views expressed in this paper are those of the staff involved and do not necessarily reflect those of the Productivity Commission.

Suggested Citation

  • Ben Dolman & Dean Parham & Simon Zheng, 2007. "Can Australia Match US Productivity Performance?," Staff Working Papers 0703, Productivity Commission, Government of Australia.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:prodsw:0703
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.pc.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/60449/productivityperformance.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://www.pc.gov.au/research/staffworkingpaper/productivityperformance
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ciccone, Antonio & Hall, Robert E, 1996. "Productivity and the Density of Economic Activity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 54-70, March.
    2. Andrea Bassanini & Stefano Scarpetta, 2001. "Does Human Capital Matter for Growth in OECD Countries?: Evidence from Pooled Mean-Group Estimates," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 282, OECD Publishing.
    3. Quah, D., 1990. "Galton'S Fallacy And The Tests Of The Convergence Hypothesis," Working papers 552, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    4. De Long, J Bradford, 1988. "Productivity Growth, Convergence, and Welfare: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(5), pages 1138-1154, December.
    5. Bell, Linda A. & Freeman, Richard B., 2001. "The incentive for working hard: explaining hours worked differences in the US and Germany," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 181-202, May.
    6. Miller, Paul W & Mulvey, Charles & Martin, Nick, 1995. "What Do Twins Studies Reveal about the Economic Returns to Education? A Comparison of Australian and U.S. Findings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 586-599, June.
    7. Stefano Scarpetta & Thierry Tressel, 2002. "Productivity and Convergence in a Panel of OECD Industries: Do Regulations and Institutions Matter?," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 342, OECD Publishing.
    8. Timmer, Marcel & Ypma, Gerard & van Ark, Bart van, 2007. "PPPs for Industry Output: A New Dataset for International Comparisons," GGDC Research Memorandum GD-82, Groningen Growth and Development Centre, University of Groningen.
    9. Broadberry, Stephen N., 1998. "How Did the United States and Germany Overtake Britian? A Sectoral Analysis of Comparative Productivity Levels, 1870–1990," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 58(2), pages 375-407, June.
    10. Dean Parham, 2004. "Sources of Australia's Productivity Revival," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 80(249), pages 239-257, June.
    11. Allen, Steven G, 1985. "Why Construction Industry Productivity Is Declining," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(4), pages 661-669, November.
    12. Dollar, David & Wolff, Edward N, 1988. "Convergence of Industry Labor Productivity among Advanced Economies, 1963-1982," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 70(4), pages 549-558, November.
    13. Edmund S. Phelps, 2008. "Understanding the Great Changes in the World: Gaining Ground and Losing Ground since World War II," International Economic Association Series, in: János Kornai & László Mátyás & Gérard Roland (ed.), Institutional Change and Economic Behaviour, chapter 4, pages 77-98, Palgrave Macmillan.
    14. Goldin, Claudia, 1998. "America's Graduation from High School: The Evolution and Spread of Secondary Schooling in the Twentieth Century," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 58(2), pages 345-374, June.
    15. Redding, Stephen & Venables, Anthony J., 2004. "Economic geography and international inequality," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 53-82, January.
    16. Timmer, Marcel P. & Ypma, Gerard, 2006. "Productivity Levels in Distributive Trades: A New ICOP Dataset for OECD Countries," GGDC Research Memorandum GD-83, Groningen Growth and Development Centre, University of Groningen.
    17. Ben Dolman & Lan Lu & Jyoti Rahman, 2006. "Understanding productivity trends," Economic Roundup, The Treasury, Australian Government, issue 1, pages 35-52, March.
    18. Blum, Bernardo S. & Goldfarb, Avi, 2006. "Does the internet defy the law of gravity?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 384-405, December.
    19. Benhabib, Jess & Spiegel, Mark M., 1994. "The role of human capital in economic development evidence from aggregate cross-country data," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 143-173, October.
    20. Lant Pritchett, 1997. "Divergence, Big Time," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 3-17, Summer.
    21. Bernard, Andrew B & Jones, Charles I, 1996. "Comparing Apples to Oranges: Productivity Convergence and Measurement across Industries and Countries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1216-1238, December.
    22. Bryn Battersby, 2007. "Does distance matter?: The effect of geographic isolation on productivity levels," OECD Economic Studies, OECD Publishing, vol. 2006(1), pages 205-225.
    23. Gilbert Cette, 2005. "Are Productivity Levels Higher in Some European Countries than in the United States?," International Productivity Monitor, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, vol. 10, pages 59-68, Spring.
    24. Paul Conway & Giuseppe Nicoletti, 2006. "Product Market Regulation in the Non-Manufacturing Sectors of OECD Countries: Measurement and Highlights," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 530, OECD Publishing.
    25. Friedman, Milton, 1992. "Do Old Fallacies Ever Die?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(4), pages 2129-2132, December.
    26. Belorgey, Nicolas & Lecat, Remy & Maury, Tristan-Pierre, 2006. "Determinants of productivity per employee: An empirical estimation using panel data," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 153-157, May.
    27. Andrew Sharpe, 2001. "Productivity Trends in the Construction Sector in Canada: A Case of Lagging Technical Progress," International Productivity Monitor, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, vol. 3, pages 52-68, Fall.
    28. repec:dgr:rugggd:gd-83 is not listed on IDEAS
    29. Quah, Danny, 1993. " Galton's Fallacy and Tests of the Convergence Hypothesis," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 95(4), pages 427-443, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Neil Dias Karunaratne, 2015. "The Productivity Paradox and the Australian Mining Boom and Bust," Research in World Economy, Research in World Economy, Sciedu Press, vol. 6(1), pages 1-19, March.
    2. Kym Anderson & Peter Lloyd & Donald Maclaren, 2007. "Distortions to Agricultural Incentives in Australia Since World War II," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 83(263), pages 461-482, December.
    3. Richard G. Harris & Peter E. Robertson, 2009. "Dynamic Gains and Market Access Insurance: Another Look at the Australia–US Free Trade Agreement," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 42(4), pages 435-452, December.
    4. Anderson, Kym & Lattimore, Ralph G. & Lloyd, Peter J. & MacLaren, Donald, 2007. "Distortions to Agricultural Incentives in Australia and New Zealand," 2007 Conference (51st), February 13-16, 2007, Queenstown, New Zealand 10407, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
    5. Thierry Tressel, 2008. "Does Technological Diffusion Explain Australia’s Productivity Performance?," IMF Working Papers 2008/004, International Monetary Fund.
    6. Ben Dolman, 2009. "What Happened to Australia's Productivity Surge?," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 42(3), pages 243-263, September.
    7. Neil Dias Karunaratne, 2013. "The mining boom, productivity conundrum and monetary policy design to combat resource curse effects in Australia," Discussion Papers Series 504, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
    8. Mark Cully, 2015. "Discussion of Firm Dynamics and Public Policy: Evidence from OECD Countries," RBA Annual Conference Volume (Discontinued), in: Angus Moore & John Simon (ed.),Small Business Conditions and Finance, Reserve Bank of Australia.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Julie Le Gallo & Sandy Dall'erba, 2008. "Spatial and sectoral productivity convergence between European regions, 1975–2000," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 87(4), pages 505-525, November.
    2. Peter Mulder & Henri Groot, 2007. "Sectoral Energy- and Labour-Productivity Convergence," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 36(1), pages 85-112, January.
    3. Chi-Keung Lau, 2010. "Convergence Across the United States: Evidence from Panel ESTAR Unit Root Test," International Advances in Economic Research, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 16(1), pages 52-64, February.
    4. Johann Burgstaller & Michael Landesmann & Robert Stehrer, 1999. "Convergence Patterns at the Industrial Level: the Dynamics of Comparative Advantage," wiiw Working Papers 11, The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw.
    5. repec:dgr:rugggd:gd-118 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. de la Fuente, Angel, 1997. "The empirics of growth and convergence: A selective review," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 23-73, January.
    7. Farhad Rassekh, 1998. "The Convergence Hypothesis: History, Theory, and Evidence," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 85-105, January.
    8. Graeme Davis & Jyoti Rahman, 2006. "Perspectives on Australia's productivity prospects," Treasury Working Papers 2006-04, The Treasury, Australian Government, revised Sep 2006.
    9. Vries, Gaaitzen J. de & Los, Bart & Castellacci, Fulvio, 2010. "Sectoral Productivity Trends:Convergence Islands in Oceans of Divergence," GGDC Research Memorandum GD-118, Groningen Growth and Development Centre, University of Groningen.
    10. Miketa, Asami & Mulder, Peter, 2005. "Energy productivity across developed and developing countries in 10 manufacturing sectors: Patterns of growth and convergence," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 429-453, May.
    11. Pozzolo, Alberto Franco, 2004. "Endogenous Growth in Open Economies - A Survey of Major Results," Economics & Statistics Discussion Papers esdp04020, University of Molise, Dept. EGSeI.
    12. William Brock & M. Taylor, 2010. "The Green Solow model," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 127-153, June.
    13. Peter Wostner, 2003. "Regional Disparities in Transition Economies: the case of Slovenia," SCIENZE REGIONALI, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2003(1).
    14. Carlino, Gerald A. & Mills, Leonard, 1996. "Testing neoclassical convergence in regional incomes and earnings," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(6), pages 565-590, December.
    15. Peter C. B. Phillips & Donggyu Sul, 2009. "Economic transition and growth," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(7), pages 1153-1185, November.
    16. William Easterly & Ross Levine, 2002. "It´s Not Factor Accumulation: Stylized Facts and Growth Models," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series, in: Norman Loayza & Raimundo Soto & Norman Loayza (Series Editor) & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel (Series Editor) (ed.),Economic Growth: Sources, Trends, and Cycles, edition 1, volume 6, chapter 3, pages 061-114, Central Bank of Chile.
    17. Crafts, Nicholas & O’Rourke, Kevin Hjortshøj, 2014. "Twentieth Century Growth*This research has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) / ERC grant agreement no. 249546.," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 6, pages 263-346, Elsevier.
    18. Fung, Michael K. & Cheng, Arnold C.S., 2010. "Convergence of total factor productivity among banks: Hong Kong's experience," Global Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 201-210.
    19. Hugo Erken & Piet Donselaar & Roy Thurik, 2018. "Total factor productivity and the role of entrepreneurship," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 43(6), pages 1493-1521, December.
    20. Landesmann, Michael A. & Stehrer, Robert, 2001. "Convergence patterns and switchovers in comparative advantage," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 399-423, December.
    21. Assaf Razin & Chi‐Wa Yuen, 1997. "Factor Mobility and Income Growth: Two Convergence Hypotheses," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 1(2), pages 171-190, June.

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ris:prodsw:0703. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (MAPS). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/pcgovau.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.