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Sources of Productivity Slowdown in European Countries During 1990s

  • Enrico Saltari
  • Giuseppe Travaglini

In this paper we address the question whether the shift in labour supply curve is the only fundamental change capturing the negative correlation between the growth rates of productivity and employment in European countries in the last fifteen years. If this explanation is correct then the labour demand curve did not shift in recent times, keeping other features of the production function unchanged. This is obviously a problem of identification. Thus, in this study we provide some empirical evidence explaining the shifts in labour demand curve over the same period. Our main conclusion is that the sluggish performance of the European economy in the last fifteen years has a common root in the large changes occurred in the labour market. We refer to these changes as technological and non technological shocks. In our model, adverse technological shocks shift the labour demand curve, while positive non technological shocks shift the labour supply curve. These two shifts contribute simultaneously to rise employment and to decrease the growth rate of productivity. Our evidence shows that labour productivity does respond positively to labour demand (technological) shocks and negatively to labour supply (non technological) shocks. Hence, the main result of our study is that both shocks are necessary to provide a complete picture of the employment-productivity trade-off in European countries during the last fifteen years.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of York in its series Discussion Papers with number 07/24.

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Date of creation: Aug 2007
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Handle: RePEc:yor:yorken:07/24
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  1. Olivier Jean Blanchard & Danny Quah, 1988. "The Dynamic Effects of Aggregate Demand and Supply Disturbance," Working papers 497, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  2. Stephen Nickell, 2003. "Labour Market Institutions and Unemployment in OECD Countries," CESifo DICE Report, Ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 1(2), pages 13-26, October.
  3. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles L. Evans, 2001. "Nominal rigidities and the dynamic effects of a shock to monetary policy," Working Paper Series WP-01-08, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  4. Gali, Jordi & Lopez-Salido, J. David & Valles, Javier, 2003. "Technology shocks and monetary policy: assessing the Fed's performance," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 723-743, May.
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  8. Marco Lippi & Lucrezia Reichlin, 1993. "The dynamic effects of aggregate demand and supply disturbances: comment," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/10159, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  9. Lawrence Kahn, 2003. "Labour Market Institutions and Unemployment in OECD Countries," CESifo DICE Report, Ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 1(4), pages 25-32, October.
  10. Olivier Blanchard & Justin Wolfers, 1999. "The Role of Shocks and Institutions in the Rise of European Unemployment: The Aggregate Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7282, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Nickell, S. & Layard, R., 1997. "Labour Market Institutions and Economic Performance," Papers 23, Centre for Economic Performance & Institute of Economics.
  12. Robert J. Gordon & Ian Dew-Becker, 2005. "Why did Europe’s productivity catch-up sputter out? a tale of tigers and tortoises," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  13. Caballero, R-J & Hammour, M-L, 1996. "The Macroeconomics of Specificity," Working papers 96-25, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  14. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Robert J. Vigfusson, 2003. "What happens after a technology shock?," International Finance Discussion Papers 768, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  15. Giuseppe Bertola & Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2001. "Comparative Analysis of Labor Market Outcomes: Lessons for the US from International Long-Run Evidence," NBER Working Papers 8526, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Gary D. Hansen & Randall Wright, 1992. "The labor market in real business cycle theory," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Spr, pages 2-12.
  17. Gamber, Edward N & Joutz, Frederick L, 1993. "The Dynamic Effects of Aggregate Demand and Supply Disturbances: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1387-93, December.
  18. Belot, M.V.K. & van Ours, J.C., 2001. "Unemployment and Labor Market Institutions : An Empirical Analysis," Discussion Paper 2001-50, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
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