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The German productivity paradox: Facts and explanations

Author

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  • Elstner, Steffen
  • Feld, Lars P.
  • Schmidt, Christoph M.

Abstract

Despite massive digitization efforts, the German economy has experienced a marked slowdown in its productivity growth. This paper analyzes the reasons behind this disconcerting development. A major factor is the turnaround of the labor market that commenced around 2005. The successful integration of five million predominantly low-productivity workers into the labor market induced an attenuating effect on productivity growth. This does not explain the slowdown entirely, however. As a potentially important countervailing force, technological advances associated with digitization would have had the potential to lift productivity growth more strongly, but they frequently translated into employment growth instead.

Suggested Citation

  • Elstner, Steffen & Feld, Lars P. & Schmidt, Christoph M., 2018. "The German productivity paradox: Facts and explanations," Ruhr Economic Papers 767, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:rwirep:767
    DOI: 10.4419/86788895
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    7. Elstner, Steffen & Grimme, Christian & Kecht, Valentin & Lehmann, Robert, 2022. "The diffusion of technological progress in ICT," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 149(C).
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    9. D. Dessì & R. Paci, 2023. "The impact of Global Value Chains participation on countries' productivity," Working Paper CRENoS 202305, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.
    10. Feld, Lars P. & Fuest, Clemens & Haucap, Justus & Schweitzer, Heike & Wieland, Volker & Wigger, Berthold U., 2020. "No retreat into fortress Europe!," Kronberger Kreis-Studien 66e, Stiftung Marktwirtschaft / The Market Economy Foundation, Berlin.
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    12. Parteka, Aleksandra & Kordalska, Aleksandra, 2023. "Artificial intelligence and productivity: global evidence from AI patent and bibliometric data," Technovation, Elsevier, vol. 125(C).
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    labor productivity; labor markets; technology shocks; digitalization; structural VARs;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • C32 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes; State Space Models

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