The British government has placed productivity at the centre of its economic growth agenda. Yet, despite the economy recovering to pre-Crisis levels, productivity has slowed. This column argues that we mustn’t lose sight of investing in productivity as a sure-fire and long-term guard against slow growth, outlining a range of strategies to get to a healthy level of investment.
Linda Yueh, Wednesday, November 25, 2015 - 00:00
Jan Lorenz, Fabrizio Zilibotti, Michael König, Thursday, November 19, 2015 - 00:00
Received wisdom would make you think that you need lots of small firms that are innovating in order to push productivity in an economy. This column provides data suggesting that large firms with high productivity growth can act as technological leaders and supply the economy with a continuous stream of innovations. Overly strong patent protection can significantly reduce growth and increase inequality.
Gerlinde Sinn, Hans-Werner Sinn, Sunday, November 1, 2015 - 00:00
With a European transfer union on the cards, we can learn a lot from Germany’s reunification – a transfer union of sorts. This column takes us through various lessons, concluding that transfers would cement southern Europe’s lack of competitiveness and drive Europe into permanent stagnation.
Robert Z. Lawrence, Thursday, October 15, 2015 - 00:00
The US debate over income inequality in the 1980s and 1990s focused on the growing disparity between the earnings of the skilled, the unskilled and the super-rich. After the global crash, the decline in labour’s share of national income has been added to these concerns. This column presents an alternative explanation for this decline, arguing that limited substitution possibilities between capital and labour combined with the acceleration in the pace of labour-augmenting technical change raises the effective labour-capital ratio. The policy implications of this alternative explanation are profoundly different from those currently circulating.
Gita Gopinath, Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan, Loukas Karabarbounis, Carolina Villegas-Sanchez, Monday, September 28, 2015 - 00:00
Joining the Eurozone was once a near unquestionably good idea. Now, the costs of joining the monetary union are under close scrutiny. This column takes a slightly different tack, presenting an alternative perspective on how joining the euro has impacted productivity in southern Europe. It turns out that capital wasn’t allocated efficiently across firms after cheap borrowing at low interest rates, impacting total factor productivity.
Elias Papaioannou, Monday, September 7, 2015 - 00:00
The focus of European policymaking in the 1990s was on meeting a set of nominal criteria. This chapter argues that instead the focus should be on institutional reform and convergence. The main issues that need to be addressed are related to state capacity (tax collection), property rights protection, investor rights, red tape, and administrative-bureaucratic quality. If Europe is to proceed with an even closer union, it should set up institutional rather than nominal targets.
Brian McCaig, Nina Pavcnik, Tuesday, August 4, 2015 - 00:00
Finding employment in the formal sector in developing countries is difficult. Countries with an abundance of informal firms suffer from low aggregate productivity. This column suggests that as countries develop, more workers transition from the informal to the formal sector. A ten-year period of rapid growth in Vietnam displayed a decrease in the employment in the informal sector in favour of the formal one. Most of it was due to changing cohorts in the workforce. In addition, this transition leads to gains in aggregate productivity in the formalised sectors.
Raffaela Giordano, Sergi Lanau, Pietro Tommasino, Petia Topalova, Tuesday, August 4, 2015 - 00:00
Italy’s productivity has been stagnant since the late 1990s. This column argues that public sector inefficiency could be partially responsible for the country’s low labour productivity. The evidence suggests that Italy could realise significant macroeconomic productivity gains if average public sector efficiency were to improve from its current faltering levels.
Philippe Aghion, Ufuk Akcigit, Antonin Bergeaud, Richard Blundell, David Hemous, Tuesday, July 28, 2015 - 00:00
In recent decades, there has been an accelerated increase in top income inequality, particularly in developed countries. This column argues that innovation partly accounts for the surge in top income inequality and fosters social mobility. In particular, the positive effect of innovation on social mobility is due to new innovators.
Jan Hanousek, Evžen Kočenda, Anastasiya Shamshur, Sunday, July 19, 2015 - 00:00
Understanding the determinants of firm performance is important if we want to improve how we do business. This column presents new research on corporate efficiency in Europe, highlighting the importance of firm characteristics such as firm ownership. Evidence suggests that a mix of majority and minority shareholders drives efficiency.
Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano, Giovanni Peri, Greg C. Wright, Wednesday, June 17, 2015 - 00:00
International trade in services and immigration are among the fastest growing aspects of globalisation. Using UK data, this column explores the links between these phenomena. Immigrants promote exports of final services to their home countries, while also reducing imports for some intermediate services, and bringing productivity gains to the labour market. In designing immigration policies, it is important that the potential impact on exports and offshoring activities are carefully considered.
Eric Bartelsman, Filippo di Mauro, Ettore Dorrucci, Tuesday, March 17, 2015 - 00:00
Uri Dadush, Friday, March 13, 2015 - 00:00
Jason Furman, Friday, February 20, 2015 - 00:00
Kirill Shakhnov, Saturday, January 17, 2015 - 00:00
Samuel Marden, Sunday, December 28, 2014 - 00:00
Alex Bryson, John Forth, Lucy Stokes, Monday, November 17, 2014 - 00:00
Florian Mayneris, Sandra Poncet, Monday, October 13, 2014 - 00:00
David Blanchflower, Stephen Machin, Monday, September 29, 2014 - 00:00
Alex Edmans, Friday, July 25, 2014 - 00:00
Happy workers might well be more productive than unhappy ones, but high worker satisfaction could also be a sign that workers are overpaid or underworked. This column examines the link between worker satisfaction and future stock returns in 14 countries. In most but not all countries, employee satisfaction is associated with higher future stock returns. Abnormal returns to companies with high worker satisfaction are significantly increasing in the flexibility of their countries’ labour markets.