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Comparisons of real output in manufacturing


  • van Ark, Bart
  • Maddison, Angus


This study is concerned with the conceptual and measurement problems which arise in comparisons of levels of per capita output and productivity in different countries. The author stresses the reliance of standarized valuations of the different elements of output rather than official exchange rates when making comparisons. Two approaches are noted; (1) the expenditure approach and (2) the production approach. The production approach, discussed here, looks at the industry of origin and provides a basis for growth accounting, comparative structural analysis, studies of technological performance, and work on labor productivity and total factor productivity. This approach provides a sounder base for constructing relative indicators of productivity. It also reveals trade protection policies and their incidence on different sectors of the economy. The approach shows which data are anomalous and which analytically useful in industrial census. It also shows how new insights might be gained by exploiting some official sources which often remain untapped by international agencies.

Suggested Citation

  • van Ark, Bart & Maddison, Angus, 1988. "Comparisons of real output in manufacturing," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5

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    Cited by:

    1. Pilat, Dirk, 1995. "Comparative productivity of Korean manufacturing, 1967-1987," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 123-144, February.
    2. Yuan, Tangjun & Fukao, Kyoji & Wu, Harry X., 2010. "Comparative output and labor productivity in manufacturing between China, Japan, Korea and the United States for ca. 1935 - A production-side PPP approach," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 325-346, July.
    3. Wu, Harry X., 2001. "China's comparative labour productivity performance in manufacturing, 1952-1997: Catching up or falling behind?," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 12(2-3), pages 162-189.
    4. Lee, Boon L. & Rao, D.S. Prasada & Shepherd, William, 2007. "Comparisons of real output and productivity of Chinese and Indian manufacturing, 1980-2002," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 378-416, September.
    5. Marcel Timmer & Adam Szirmai, 1999. "Comparative productivity performance in manufacturing in South and East Asia, 1960-93," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 27(1), pages 57-79.
    6. Lee, Boon & Shepherd, William, 2002. "Comparative Analysis of Transport and Communications Korea and Australia," MPRA Paper 10412, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Baldwin, John R. Maynard, Jean-Pierre Tanguay, Marc Wong, Fanny Yan, Beiling, 2005. "Comparaison des niveaux de productivité au Canada et aux États-Unis : étude de certains aspects de la mesure," Série de documents de recherche sur l'analyse économique (AE) 2005028f, Statistics Canada, Direction des études analytiques.
    8. Szirmai, Adam & Ruoen, Ren, 2000. "Comparative performance in Chinese manufacturing, 1980-1992," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 16-53.
    9. Michaël Freudenberg & Deniz Ünal-Kesenci, 1994. "French and German Productivity Levels in Manufacturing: A Comparison Based on the Industry-of-Origin Method," Working Papers 1994-10, CEPII research center.


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