International Productivity Monitor

Covers the importance of productivity for improving living standards and quality of life, productivity issues, trends and developments in Canada and other countries and serves as a vehicle for the international discussion of productivity topics.

Articles

No. 26, Fall

Editor's Overview
THIS 26TH ISSUE OF THE International Productivity Monitor features articles on the following topics: the role of weak demand in explaining slower productivity growth; the sectoral productivity performance of Ontario industries; the sensitivity of multifactor...
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Explaining Slower Productivity Growth: The Role of Weak Demand Growth
Canada's business sector labour productivity growth increased at a meager 0.8 per cent per year since 2000, slightly over half of the pace registered during the 1981-2000 period. Productivity research has largely focused on supply-side explanations...
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A Sectoral Analysis of Ontario's Weak Productivity Growth
One of the most widely used economic performance indicators is labour productivity, defined as real GDP per hour worked. (2) Ontario's performance in terms of labour productivity has been very poor over the past several years. This has caused a considerable...
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Multifactor Productivity Growth Estimation in Canada and the United States: Do Different Methodologies Matter?
National statistics offices in different countries, as well as individual researchers, make a range of different assumptions and use different approaches to estimating multifactor productivity (MFP) growth. As a result, MFP growth estimates can vary...
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Can the Canada-U.S. ICT Investment Gap Be a Measurement Issue?
In 2011, business sector investment per worker in information and communications technology (ICT) in Canada was only 57.8 per cent of the U.S. level, indicating an ICT investment per worker gap of 42.2 percentage points. Numerous explanations have...
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Improving Canada's Productivity Performance: The Potential Contribution of Firm-Level Productivity Research
Drummond (2011) has pointed out that output per hour worked in the business sector in Canada has only grown at 0.7 per cent per year since 2000, compared to about double that from 1973 to 2000 and more than five times that from 1947 to 1973. Labour...
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Mastering Leviathan: A Review Article on Growing the Productivity of Government Services
The impact of government on the well-being of citizens is enormous. Most attention is paid to highly visible policies such as interest-rate or tax policies, but a vast array of services are provided by government that affect the daily lives of citizens,...
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No. 25, Spring

Editor's Overview
This 25th issue of the International Productivity Monitor contains revised versions of papers, as well as discussant comments, presented at a session on productivity organized by the Centre for the Study of Living Standards at the annual meeting of...
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U.S. Productivity Growth: An Optimistic Perspective
[GRAPHIC 1 OMITTED] The impact of the Great Recession that swept through the advanced economies in 2008 has lingered, with unemployment remaining high and economic growth slow. Forecasters predict that the U.S. economy will not return to full employment...
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U.S. Productivity Growth: The Slowdown Has Returned after a Temporary Revival
THIS COMMENT PROVIDES my perspective on the future of productivity growth in the United States. I concur with the view expressed in Baily, Manyika, and Gupta (2013) that American manufacturing has a bright future of productivity growth, even though...
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Is the Information Technology Revolution Over?
THE RATE OF INCREASE IN labour productivity in the United States--an essential element determining improvements in living standards --slowed in the mid-2000s, as highlighted by Fernald (2012), Gordon (2012), Jorgenson (2012), and Kahn and Rich (2013),...
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Data Appendix
This appendix describes the data series used in the article. All data are annual and cover the period from 1974 to 2012 inclusive. Real Output per Hour in the Non-Farm Business Sector (Y/H) Data from 1974 through 2008 are from the tables the...
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Will History Repeat Itself? Comments on "Is the Information Technology Revolution Over?"
THE ARTICLE "Is the Information Technology Revolution Over?" by David M. Byrne, Stephen D. Oliner, and Daniel E. Sichel represents a thought-provoking work which updates and extends the authors' earlier research. It addresses an important question,...
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Productivity or Employment: Is It a Choice?
OVER THE PAST DECADE, policymakers in Canada have expressed concern about the country's slow rate of productivity growth. Indeed, total factor productivity (TFP) growth in Canada has consistently underperformed that of the other G-7 economies. Output...
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Comments on "Productivity or Employment: Is It a Choice?"
THE ARTICLE "Productivity or Employment: Is it a Choice?" by Andrea De Michelis, Marcello Estevao, and Beth Anne Wilson contends that there is a tradeoff between growth in hours and productivity. The authors argue that for countries such as Canada,...
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European Productivity Growth since 2000 and Future Prospects
Like elsewhere in the advanced world, the financial crisis and recession in 2008-09 and its aftermath have significantly affected the growth performance of European economies. To understand how the recovery will evolve, who will benefit and what the...
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Comments on "European Productivity Growth since 2000 and Future Prospects"
THE ARTICLE "European Productivity Growth Since 2000 and Future Prospects", by Bart van Ark, Vivian Chen, and Kirsten Jager represents an ambitious and instructive study encompassing an unusually large set of productivity and competitiveness issues...
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No. 24, Fall

Editor's Overview
THE 24TH ISSUE OF THE International Productivity Monitor (IPM) published by the Centre for the Study of Living Standards contains ten contributions. Topics covered include the World KLEMS initiative, the new concept of human capital productivity, a...
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The World KLEMS Initiative
The World KLEMS Initiative was established at the First World KLEMS Conference, held at Harvard University on August 19-20, 2010. The purpose of this Initiative is to generate KLEMS data sets, consisting of inputs of capital (K) and labour (L) at the...
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Human Capital Productivity: A New Concept for Productivity Analysis
MUCH HAS BEEN WRITTEN about labour productivity, but little about human capital productivity which is defined as the ratio between an index of discounted future output and an index of human capital. The two concepts are related, but not the same and...
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New Estimates of Real Income and Multifactor Productivity Growth for the Canadian Business Sector, 1961-2011
Many observers have noted that an improvement in a country's terms of trade has effects similar to an improvement in a country's productivity growth in boosting real incomes. However, it is not straightforward to work out the exact magnitude of each...
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Appendix 1: Explaining Real Income Growth: The Translog Approach
The Production Theory Framework In this Appendix, we present the production theory framework used in the article "New Estimates of Real Income and Multifactor Productivity Growth for the Canadian Business Sector, 1961-2011" published in the Fall...
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Appendix 2: Business Sector Data on Outputs and Inputs for Canada, 1961-2011
Introduction The Appendix discusses the underlying data used to measure multifactor productivity growth in the article "New Estimates of Real Income and Multifactor Productivity Growth for the Canadian Business Sector, 1961-2011" published in the...
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Estimating Capital Input for Measuring Business Sector Multifactor Productivity Growth in Canada: Response to Diewert and Yu
Diewert and Yu (2012) have constructed a new estimate of multifactor productivity growth for the Canadian business sector for the period 1961-2011. Their estimate of multifactor productivity (MFP) increases at an average annual rate of 1.0 per cent...
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Rejoinder to Gu on "Estimating Capital Input for Measuring Business Sector Multifactor Productivity Growth in Canada"
Wulong Gu (2012) has provided a very thoughtful analysis of the differences in methodology for deriving business sector multifactor productivity (MFp) growth using the statistics Canada Canadian productivity program (Cpp) bottom-up methodology versus...
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Comment on "Estimating Capital Input for Measuring Business Sector Multifactor Productivity Growth in Canada"
GU (2012) IN THIS SYMPOSIUM examines the differences in capital input estimates between the Canadian Productivity Program of Statistics Canada and Diewert and Yu (2012). He finds that the difference in aggregate capital input estimates (and therefore...
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Difficulties Assessing Multifactor Productivity for Canada
In 2011, Canada's business sector multifactor productivity (MFP) index, as estimated by Statistics Canada, was 94.8, which is lower than the value of 97.6 for 1977. For years now, governments in Canada have sought to improve the nation's productivity....
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The Long-Term Outlook for Productivity and per Capita Income Growth for Canada: A Comparison with Selected G-20 Countries
[GRAPHIC 1 OMITTED] IT IS NO SURPRISE TO READERS of the International Productivity Monitor to learn that Canada's potential growth rate had slowed considerably even before the financial crisis of the past five years. OECD estimates show that it...
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Sectoral Contributions to Labour Productivity Growth in Canada: Does the Choice of Decomposition Formula Matter?
AN IMPORTANT PART of productivity analysis is the estimation of sectoral contributions to aggregate labour productivity growth. Several decomposition formulas have been developed for this purpose. Unfortunately, different decomposition formulas frequently...
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The Political Economy of Economic and Productivity Growth: An Interview with Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson, Authors of Why Nations Fail
IN FAST-GROWING DEVELOPING countries like India and China, rapid productivity growth is largely driven by economic growth, resulting in rapid increases in the average living standards of the population. Consequently, an understanding of the reasons...
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No. 23, Spring

Editor's Overview
THE 23RD ISSUE OF THE International Productivity Monitor includes five articles on: business innovation strategies and policies to stimulate innovation in Canada; new direct measures of the use of computer technologies in Canada and the United States...
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Stimulating Innovation: Is Canada Pursuing the Right Policies?
Canada has a productivity problem. The dramatic widening between Canadian and U.S. labour productivity levels is one of the most important challenges facing economists in this country. The gap, now between 25 per cent and 30 per cent in the business...
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The Effects of Computer Technologies on the Canadian Economy: Evidence from New Direct Measures
Computer technologies are often viewed as a key contributor to productivity growth in advanced industrial countries such as the United States and Canada. (2) It follows that cross-country differences in the development and use of these technologies...
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Why Aren't Workers Benefiting from Labour Productivity Growth in the United States?
Changes in real wages, or wages adjusted for the cost of living, are the most direct route by which labour productivity affects living standards. Yet gains in the real median hourly wage in the United states have lagged far behind that of labour productivity....
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Employment and Productivity: Disentangling Employment Structure and Qualification Effects
Which employment-based policy would lead to the largest GDP per capita gains? Countries can increase either the employment rate, working time or the qualifications of the employed population. GDP per capita levels vary among industrialised countries,...
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To Capture Production or Wellbeing? A Review Article on towards Measuring the Volume Output of Education and Health Services: A Handbook
National accounts have become a central source for evaluating living standards. Headline numbers of GDP are compared, policy makers worry about trends, and researchers delve into details. However, a rather large deficiency exists in national accounts...
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No. 22, Fall

Editor's Overview
It is well know that Canada's productivity performance in recent years has been weak. But the causes of this situation are still poorly understood. In the first article, Don Drummond from Queen's University, and a former senior Finance Canada official...
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Confessions of a Serial Productivity Researcher
I appear before you today to confess my failure. As time is limited I will restrict myself to one failure, that being everything I have ever done on productivity. At a minimum I am hoping the confession will bring some sort of cleansing. More optimistically,...
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Innovation and Productivity: Summary Results for Canadian Manufacturing Establishments
The standard of living and the quality of life in a country are closely related to its level of labour productivity. Improving labour pro ductivity not only supports increased wages but is also the best guarantor of capacity to provide public services...
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The Myths and Reality of Deindustrialization in Sweden: The Role of Productivity
In the last thirty years, the share of manufacturing in total world GDP has decreased. Simultaneously, there has been a fall in manufacturing employment in the Western world. This structural change is defined as deindustrialization and started in the...
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Industrial Structural Change and the Post-2000 Output and Productivity Growth Slowdown: A Canada-U.S. Comparison
THE INDUSTRIAL STRUCTURE of the Canadian and U.S. economies have each been in a pro longed period of evolution that has become even more pronounced in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent economic downturn that a number of journalists...
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A Half-Century of Productivity Growth and Structural Change in Canadian Agriculture: An Overview
Agricultural productivity has been increasing at a much faster pace than aggregate productivity in Canada over the past decades. in particular, while business sector productivity growth in canada saw a significant slowdown after 2000, productivity...
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No. 21, Spring

Editor's Overview
A key stylized fact that productivity analysts must explain has been the divergence in productivity growth between Europe and the United States since 1995, with productivity growth in the United States accelerating and that in Europe falling off. In...
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Productivity and Economic Growth in Europe: A Comparative Industry Perspective
THE BENEFITS OF THE MODERN KNOWLEDGE economy differ greatly between advanced economies. The EU-15, that is the 15 European Union countries that constituted the Union up to 2004, experienced a sharp slowdown in labour productivity growth (measured as...
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Industry Mix, Plant Turnover and Productivity Growth: A Case Study of the Transportation Equipment Industry in Canada
THE TRANSPORTATION EQUIPMENT manufacturing industry is one of the few Canadian industries that is as productive as its U.S. counterpart. Van Biesebroeck (2007) finds that in 1994-2004, Canadian automobile assembly plants required about 1.5 less hours...
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A Portrait of the Productivity Performance of the Canadian Provinces, 1997-2007
PRODUCTIVITY IS THE KEY FACTOR that determines living standards in the long run. If the amount of output each worker produces does not increase, real wages and incomes cannot rise (Sharpe, 2010a). Since 2000, Canada's labour productivity growth has...
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Insights from Latin America for Canada: A Review Article on the Age of Productivity: Transforming Economies from the Bottom Up
THE AGE OF PRODUCTIVITY: Transforming Economies from the Bottom Up is a collection of 12 research papers on the productivity challenges facing Latin America and the Carribean. Published by the Inter-American Development Bank, this volume is the 2010...
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Is Ageing a Drag on Productivity Growth? A Review Article on Ageing, Health and Productivity: The Economics of Increased Life Expectancy
TWO STYLIZED FACTS DOMINATE the economic landscape. First, productivity growth in Canada has slowed down since 2000 and is well below that in the United States. Second, the population is ageing, both in the sense that the average age of the workforce...
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No. 20, Fall

Editor's Overview
This marks the 20th issue of the International Productivity Monitor (IPM). The Centre for the Study of Living Standards would like to thank Industry Canada for the financial support that has made the publication of the IPM possible over the past decade....
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Canada's Potential Productivity and Output Growth: A Post-Crisis Assessment
Policy makers need accurate estimates of the amount of economic slack, but this usually difficult exercise has become even harder during the ongoing financial crisis. The most common measure of slack is the output gap, i.e. the difference between actual...
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Sensitivity of Capital Stock and Multifactor Productivity Estimates to Depreciation Assumptions: A Canada-U.S. Comparison
THE UNITED STATES IS CANADA'S dominant trading partner and competes head to head for foreign direct investment (FDI), innovation activities, and skilled labour within the continent as well from outside of the region. Hence, Canada needs to be highly...
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Insights into Canada's Abysmal Post-2000 Productivity Performance from Decompositions of Labour Productivity Growth by Industry and Province
Canada's labour productivity growth has been very slow by historical standards since 2000. Since productivity growth is the main driver of living standards growth in the long run, this development has important implications for Canada's economic future....
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Finland's Path to the Global Productivity Frontier through Creative Destruction
From 1970 to 2007, Finland's real GDP per capita grew 2.6-fold and labour productivity grew 3.0-fold; in the market sector, labour productivity grew 4.0-fold. (2) The country's stellar performance partly reflects success in catching up from an initially...
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Indian Manufacturing Productivity: What Caused the Growth Stagnation before the 1990s?
The slow productivity growth in Indian manufacturing before the late 1990s is cited as one of the major reasons why the Indian economy could not achieve high rates of economic growth. Indian manufacturing productivity growth was slower compared to...
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No. 19, Spring

Editor's Overview
THIS ISSUE OF THE International Productivity Monitor contains five articles on: recent productivity developments in the world economy; aggregate measures of income and their implications for productivity and living standards; the role of sectoral employment...
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Recent Productivity Developments in the World Economy: An Overview from the Conference Board Total Economy Database
AGAINST THE BACKDROP OF the recession, global productivity, measured as output per person employed, fell 1.0 per cent in 2009 according to preliminary estimates published as part of The Conference Board Total Economy Database in January 2010. This...
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Aggregate Measures of Income and Output in Canada and the United States: Implications for Productivity and Living Standards
THERE ARE EIGHT measures of aggregate income (or output) in national accounting. These aggregates are based on three dimensions of analysis: gross versus net, domestic versus national, and product versus income. The eight combinations of these concepts...
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Can Sectoral Reallocations of Labour Explain Canada's Absymal Productivity Performance?
Productivity growth has been slow in Canada since 2000, both from an historical perspective and relative to that in the United States. Growth of business sector output per hour has averaged 0.8 per cent per year between 2000 and 2009, compared to 1.5...
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Productivity Growth in Canadian and U.S. Regulated Industries
THE EVIDENCE SHOWS THAT many of the Canadian industries that underwent deregulation experienced faster labour productivity growth and multifactor productivity growth than did the aggregate Canadian business sector and had similar or higher productivity...
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International Comparisons of Industry-Based Productivity Levels in the Financial and Business Service Sectors
This article aims at contributing to the explanations underlying the relatively poor productivity performance of European countries. Over the last decade, the United States has displayed productivity growth rates that are substantially above those...
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No. 18, Spring

Education, Productivity and Economic Growth: A Selective Review of the Evidence
FROM THE 1960S TO THE 1980S, economic growth was a relatively neglected topic in macroeconomics. (2) Macro textbooks and courses devoted little attention to the study of long-run growth, and focused mostly on business cycles, unemployment and inflation....
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Is Canada Really All That Bad at Innovation?: A Tale of Two Industries
THE COUNCIL OF CANADIAN ACADEMIES (CCA) is rendering an invaluable service to the Canadian public. Over a very short period, the CCA has produced several of the most penetrating and useful analyses of the state of Canadian research and innovation to...
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The UNIDO World Productivity Database: An Overview
THE PURPOSE OF THIS ARTICLE is to describe a new, unique database--the World Productivity Database (WPD)--which contains information on aggregate productivity performance, level and growth for up to 112 countries from 1960 to 2000. In addition, forecasts...
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Innovation and Business Strategy: Why Canada Falls Short
INNOVATION--NEW OR BETTER ways of doing valued things--is the creative capacity to transform the imagined into the real. Innovation matters for businesses because novel products and more efficient processes are the principal means of making businesses...
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Bridging Canadian Technology SMEs over the Valley of Death
THE STUDY Innovation and Business Strategy: Why Canada Falls Short produced by an expert panel under the auspices of the Council of Canadian Academies is a well-researched and well-presented report on innovation in the Canadian private sector. The...
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New Estimates of Multifactor Productivity Growth for the Canadian Provinces
THE OBJECTIVE OF THIS ARTICLE is to present new estimates of multifactor productivity (MFP) or total factor productivity (2) for the Canadian provinces. In contrast to previous estimates of MFP (e.g. CSLS, 2008), these estimates for the first time...
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Some Reflections on the Expert Panel Report on Business Innovation in Canada
IN 2007, THE GOVERNMENT OF CANADA requested the Council of Canadian Academies (CCA) to canvas the innovation performance of Canadian business, and in particular to shed light on Canada's relatively weak investment among OECD countries in innovation...
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Editor's Overview
THIS 18TH ISSUE OF THE International Productivity Monitor published by the Centre for the Study of Living Standards contains seven articles. Topics covered are the relationship between education, productivity and economic growth, new estimates of multifactor...
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No. 17, Fall

The Impact of Labour Market Policies on Productivity in OECD Countries
GROWTH IN GDP PER CAPITA, one of the primary economic policy objectives of OECD countries, can be decomposed into the growth of two components: labour utilisation and labour productivity. (2) During the 1990s, labour productivity growth accounted for...
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What Explains the ICT Diffusion Gap between the Major Advanced Countries? an Empirical Analysis
IN RECENT YEARS, A LARGE BODY of literature (e.g. OECD 2003) has shown that the level of information and communications technology (ICT) diffusion, and, as a result, the favourable effects of this diffusion on productivity, differs greatly between...
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The Measurement of TFP in Argentina, 1990-2004: A Case of the Tyranny of Numbers, Economic Cycles and Methodology
DURING THE 1990S, LABOUR productivity grew at a robust pace in Argentina. It is widely believed that much of the labour productivity growth was due to the growth of total factor productivity (TFP), i.e. associated exclusively with positive shifts in...
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Editor's Overview
THIS 17TH ISSUE OF THE International Productivity Monitor published by the Centre for the Study of Living Standards contains six articles. Topics covered are the effect of labour market regulation on productivity in OECD countries; the relationship...
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ICT Production and Productivity in Sweden and Finland, 1975-2004
DURING THE DECADES AFTER World War II, the Western European countries that are currently members of the EU experienced faster labour productivity (LP) growth than the United States. In the mid 1990s, this convergence turned into divergence. This occurred...
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Why Have Real Wages Lagged Labour Productivity Growth in Canada?
THE MOST DIRECT ROUTE by which labour productivity affects living standards is through gains in real wages, that is, wages adjusted for the cost of living. Yet median real wages have stagnated in Canada since 1980 despite significant productivity gains....
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Improving US National Accounts Integration and Consistency: A Review Article on A New Architecture for the U.S. National Accounts
J. JOSEPH BEAULIEU AND ERIC J. Bartelsman introduce Chapter 8 of this book by a French proverb: "A man with one watch knows what time it is; a man with two watches is never quite sure." The pending question is about that man without a watch; is he...
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The Relationship between Labour Productivity and Real Wages Growth in Canada and OECD Countries
The most direct mechanism by which labour productivity affects living standards is through real wages, that is, wages adjusted to reflect the cost of living. Between 1980 and 2005, the median real earnings of Canadians workers stagnated, while labour...
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Executive Summary
In the long run, the most direct mechanism by which labour productivity affects living standards is through real wages, that is, wages adjusted for changes in the cost of living. Economic theory holds that at the aggregate level the growth of real...
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I. Introduction
A. Motivation In the long run, the most direct route by which labour productivity affects living standards is through real wages, that is, wages adjusted for the cost of living. Economic theory holds that at the aggregate level the growth of real...
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II. Literature Review
The finding that real median earnings in Canada have barely moved in 25 years is only the most recent news in a long-running debate over the relationship between labour productivity and real wages. In Canada, a number of analysts have explored the...
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III. Frameworks for the Analysis of the Relationship between Labour Productivity and Income
Part III explains the theoretical framework that underpins the analysis of the relationship between labour productivity and real wages in this report. Real wages will be defined and discussed in detail. First, a simple economic model is constructed...
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IV. Understanding the Relationship between Labour Productivity and Real Wages: Conceptual, Definitional and Measurement Issues
Conceptual, definitional, and measurement issues associated with the relationship between labour productivity and real wages can be organized into four general areas: * labour input, * nominal wages, * nominal output, and * deflators. ...
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V. Trends in Labour Productivity and Wages in Canada, the United States and Other OECD Countries, 1961-2007
This part of the report is divided into four sections. The first three sections respectively analyze trends in the relationship between labour productivity, product wages, and consumption wages in Canada, at the national, provincial and industry level,...
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VI. Explanations of Developments in the Relationship between Labour Productivity and Real Wages in Canada
Previous sections have summarized the theory and challenges underlying the measurement of the relationship between labour productivity and real wages as well as reviewed recent trends in Canada and other OECD countries. This part of the report suggests...
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VII. Policy Implications
This part outlines potential policy implications of the findings of this report. Since the objective of government policy is to increase well-being, increasing real wages, which in turn raise living standards, a key determinant of well-being, can be...
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VIII. Conclusion
The median real earnings of Canadians barely increased between 1980 and 2005; over the same period, labour productivity rose by 37.4 per cent. This divergence can be explained by four factors: measurement issues associated with wages, an increase in...
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Bibliography
Alcala, F. and I. Sancho (2000) "Inflation and Factor Shares," Universidad de Marcia, Working Paper No. 460.00, May. Anderson, R. G. (2007) "How Well Do Wages Follow Productivity Growth?" National Economic Trends, March. Arsenault, J. and A....
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Comportement De Demande De TIC: Une Comparaison Internationale
1. Introduction Sur le moyen-terme, les gains de productivite sont fortement lies aux transformations de la combinaison productive liees aux evolutions technologiques et a l'innovation. A ce titre, sur les dernieres decennies, la revolution technologique...
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The Measurement of TFP in an Unstable Economy: Argentina 1990-2004: "A Case of the Tyranny of Numbers Economic Cycle and Methodology"
INDEX 1. Introduction 4 2. Sources of Growth 8 2.1 Basic Sources of Growth 8 2.2 Instability of Relative Prices and Aggregate...
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