Divergences in Productivity between Europe and the United States - Measuring and Explaining Productivity Gaps Between Developed Countries

Edited by G. Cette, M. Fouquin and H.-W. Sinn

Edward Elgar: Cheltenham, UK; Northhampton, USA, 2007, 264 S.

Papers from a seminar held at the Royaumont Abbey on 22 and 23 March 2004, and organized by the Banque de France, CEPII, and the Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.

In the 1990s, labour productivity growth accelerated in the United States, yet slowed down in other industrialised countries, reversing a three decade long tendency of convergence. The book explores this phenomenon. It first identifies the methodological and statistical problems involved in measuring productivity and making cross-country comparisons in this area. Then the role of factor accumulation for the diverging trends across the OECD world, with a particular focus on the dispersion of information and communication technology (ICT), is reviewed. In-depth studies of single countries provide further insights regarding growth trends in the United States, Japan, Germany, and France. Finally, empirical investigations regarding the determinants of productivity growth at an international level complement the analyses. The results stress that public infrastructure and education, employment rates and working hours, and ICT spending play an important role in explaining the existing differences in levels and changes of productivity.