Alejandro Cuñat, Robert Zymek, 15 October 2017

A large portion of international income differences remains poorly understood. It is traditionally attributed to cross-country differences in total factor productivity, which cannot be measured directly. This column argues that the importance of total factor productivity has been overstated because differences in countries’ patterns of international linkages have been overlooked. Using input-output data for 40 countries, it shows how the assumption that economies are closed has led traditional development accounting to overestimate total factor productivity.

Antonin Bergeaud, Gilbert Cette, Rémy Lecat, 04 September 2017

Over the 20th century, GDP growth was mainly driven by total factor productivity growth. Since the mid-2000s, however, productivity growth has been in decline. This column explores the history and future of growth focusing on four developed economies: the US, the Eurozone, the UK, and Japan. Simulated scenarios for the 21st century show a wide range of potential growth outcomes, dependent on whether total factor productivity growth stays indefinitely low, and whether the digital economy delivers a new productivity growth wave.

Maarten de Ridder, Coen Teulings, 13 July 2017

Around the world, growth has yet to recover to its pre-Global Crisis trend. This column uses the crisis as a quasi-natural experiment to test the endogenous growth hypothesis, which suggests that output has not recovered because the crisis affected the rate of technological progress. Firms that preferred a bank that was more severely affected by the crisis experienced a large fall in R&D investment and a persistent fall in output in subsequent years. This suggests a direct link between R&D and future productivity, as predicted by endogenous growth models.

Cristina Mitaritonna, Gianluca Orefice, Giovanni Peri, 03 March 2017

Despite numerous studies exploring how immigration affects local labour markets, there is limited evidence on the impact of immigrants on firms’ productivity levels. Using detailed, firm-level data from France, this column explores how firms react to an increase in the supply of immigrant workers. Provinces with a large increase in immigrant supply experienced higher productivity growth, especially among firms that were initially less productive. This suggests immigration can promote convergence in firm size and productivity levels. 

Sara Calligaris, Massimo Del Gatto, Fadi Hassan, Gianmarco Ottaviano, Fabiano Schivardi, 28 June 2016

Many advanced economies have experienced a productivity slowdown in recent years. Italy, however, has been experiencing such a slowdown since the mid-1990s. This column provides a detailed analysis of Italy’s patterns of misallocation over this period. Firms in the Northern regions, as well as large firms, have experienced the sharpest increase in resource misallocation. To tackle the resulting productivity slowdown, reforms need to address unemployment benefits and higher education, as well as encouraging investment in intangible assets. 

Gerben Bakker, Nicholas Crafts, Pieter Woltjer, 05 February 2016

The Great Depression is considered one of the darkest times for the US economy, but some argue that the US economy experienced strong productivity growth over the period. This column reassesses this performance using improved measures of total factor productivity that allow for comparisons of productivity growth in the Depression era and in later decades. Contrary to Alvin Hansen’s gloomy prognosis of secular stagnation, the US economy was in a very strong position during the 1930s by today’s standards.

Jan Lorenz, Fabrizio Zilibotti, Michael König, 19 November 2015

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.

Virginia Di Nino, 08 June 2015

The high-flying productivity of exporting firms is one of the reasons governments promote exporting. This column presents new evidence on ‘carry along trade’, i.e. exports by firms who did not produce the final good. In Italy, about a quarter of manufacturing exports involve goods sold by a manufacturer which is not the actual producer. These firms hold a sizeable productivity premium and many superstar firms are not super-producers. 

M. Ayhan Kose, Eswar Prasad, Marco Terrones, 05 January 2009

There is a vast empirical literature analysing the impact of financial openness on economic growth but far less attention has been paid to its effects on productivity growth. This is surprising given the strong evidence that productivity growth is the main driver of long-term economic growth. This column argues that financial openness in fact has a positive impact on productivity growth, although the effects are subtle.

Hylke Vandenbussche, 03 October 2008

Antidumping duties have become the most frequently used instrument of trade protection. Antidumping protection can be “abused” to shelter uncompetitive domestic industries from more efficient rather than “unfair” foreign importers. This column shows that antidumping duties protect inefficient domestic firms and impede efficiency gains.

Lorenzo Casaburi, Valeria Gattai, G. Alfredo Minerva, 08 April 2008

Recent studies have shown that globalisation creates winning and losing firms within the same sector. This column summarises evidence from Italy describing important differences between domestic firms and offshorers. Firms going abroad are larger, but not all modes of offshoring are equal.

Hylke Vandenbussche, Jozef Konings, 05 March 2008

The European Commission’s proposed anti-dumping reform (AD) has been dumped. This research suggests that is not always in the best interests of the industry that anti-dumping supposedly protects.

Gianmarco Ottaviano, 31 July 2007

Since the very beginning of European integration, the role of openness in promoting firm productivity has been recognised by European leaders. Recent evidence on Italian firms supports this view.

Gianmarco Ottaviano, 31 July 2007

Since the very beginning of European integration, the role of openness in promoting firm productivity has been recognised by European leaders. Recent evidence on Italian firms supports this view.

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