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Explaining the gaps in labour productivity in some developed countries

Razzak, Weshah (2005): Explaining the gaps in labour productivity in some developed countries. Forthcoming in: Applied Econometrics and International Development (August 2007)

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Abstract

Modern economic theories explain differences in productivity and economic growth across countries by differences in political and economic institutions, and differences in culture, geographical location, policies, and laws. The success of any of these theories in explaining the gap in productivity between any two countries depends on the countries in the sample. We argue in this paper that differences in the above variables might explain gaps in economic performance between developed and developing countries, but are too small to explain the productivity gaps between developed countries. We test this hypothesis for two pairs of developed neighbouring countries: New Zealand and Australia and Canada and the United States, hence New Zealand – Australia and Canada – United States. In this paper, more than eighty percent of labour productivity gaps between New Zealand and Australia and Canada and the United States are explained by endogenous technology shocks (TFP) and capital intensities.

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