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A Detailed Analysis of the Productivity Performance of Oil and Gas Extraction in Canada


  • Andrew Sharpe


  • Celeste Bradley



In recent years, the productivity performance of oil and gas extraction in Canada has been dismal. Based on official real GDP and labour input estimates from Statistics Canada, labour productivity in oil and gas extraction fell 8.23 per cent per year between the 2000 cyclical peak and 2007, with capital productivity down 5.97 per cent per year over the same period and total factor productivity (TFP) off 6.67 per cent per year between 2000 and 2006. Among the various hypotheses put forward to explain these trends, the most robust seems to be that higher output prices have suppressed productivity growth through two effects: increased exploitation of low-productivity marginal deposits, and business decisions based on profitability rather than productivity. Despite the rapid decline in productivity in oil and gas extraction, it is not necessarily true that Canadians are worse off. In fact, increased output prices and employment shares in the industry, as well as the high productivity level, have resulted in positive contributions to Canada‟s aggregate labour productivity growth from 2000 to 2006.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Sharpe & Celeste Bradley, 2009. "A Detailed Analysis of the Productivity Performance of Oil and Gas Extraction in Canada," CSLS Research Reports 2009-08, Centre for the Study of Living Standards.
  • Handle: RePEc:sls:resrep:0908

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    Cited by:

    1. John R. Baldwin & Michael Willox, 2016. "The Industry Origins of Canada's Weaker Labour Productivity Performance and the Role of Structural Adjustment in the Post-2000 Period," International Productivity Monitor, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, vol. 31, pages 19-36, Fall.
    2. John E. Tilton, 2013. "Cyclical and Secular Determinants of Productivity in the Copper, Aluminum, Iron Ore, and Coal Industries," Working Papers 2013-11, Colorado School of Mines, Division of Economics and Business.

    More about this item


    productivity; mining; oil and gas; resource extraction; labour productivity; output per hour; capital intensity; total factor productivity; Canada;

    JEL classification:

    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General
    • O51 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - U.S.; Canada
    • J00 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - General
    • E23 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Production
    • Q30 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - General
    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • J08 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics Policies

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