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Competitive Economic Performance: USA versus EU


  • Karl Aiginger
  • Michael Landesmann

    () (The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw)


This paper analyses some of the factors behind the diverging productivity performances of the US and the EU over the 1990s and develops some conjectures regarding the likely developments for the current decade. The 1990s were characterized by two features the disappearance of the process of productivity catching-up of Europe vis-à-vis the US which had lasted for most of the post-war period and the reversal from productivity slowdown to productivity acceleration in the US in the second half of the 1990s without the same occurring in Europe. A multitude of factors are analysed in this paper which could lie behind these developments, both at the macroeconomic and structural levels. Particular emphasis is put on differences in 'growth drivers' which can account for differences in supply-side performance, especially in periods in which major processes of innovation and diffusion of a general purpose technology (GPT) take place. There is also an analysis of the diversity of intra-European experience with some small European countries (Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands) achieving very good results in technology policy combined with policies which aim towards social inclusiveness.

Suggested Citation

  • Karl Aiginger & Michael Landesmann, 2002. "Competitive Economic Performance: USA versus EU," wiiw Research Reports 291, The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw.
  • Handle: RePEc:wii:rpaper:rr:291

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    Cited by:

    1. Vasily Astrov & Vladimir Gligorov & Peter Havlik & Leon Podkaminer, 2003. "Monthly Report 03/2003," wiiw Monthly Reports 2003-03, The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw.
    2. Peter Havlik, 2005. "Structural Change, Productivity and Employment in the New EU Member States," wiiw Research Reports 313, The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw.
    3. Julia Woerz, 2008. "Austria's Competitiveness in Trade in Services," FIW Research Reports series I-003, FIW.

    More about this item


    competitiveness; USA and Europe; growth; productivity; economic structure;

    JEL classification:

    • L6 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing
    • N1 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations
    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights
    • O4 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity
    • O5 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies


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