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Tradability and productivity growth differentials across EU member states

Friesenbichler, Klaus and Glocker, Christian (2017): Tradability and productivity growth differentials across EU member states.

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Abstract

This study examines the lack of convergence among EU Member States from a structural perspective. We apply the tradable-nontradable framework (T-NT) to evaluate the heterogeneity in labour productivity before and after the great recession. We find that, across all countries, nontradables were less relevant for aggregate productivity. The low productivity growth in peripheral EU countries was accompanied by a specific structural change pattern: There was a sharp production increase of nontradables before the crisis relative to other EU countries. For most peripheral countries concerns about unfavourable sector structures remain, implying a continuation of unsustainable growth patterns. This has implications for the European Commission’s macroeconomic imbalance procedures, since it allows identifying patterns of real divergence on a disaggregated level. Finally, we identify a link between sectoral growth asymmetries and the quality of domestic governance institutions. Especially differences in the legal system help to explain the observed productivity growth differentials.

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