Productivity and Innovation

Georg Duernecker, Berthold Herrendorf, Akos Valentinyi, 16 May 2018

Baumol argued that structural change may lead to a productivity slowdown due to a reallocation of production to service industries with low productivity growth. This column uses a new framework to estimate the effects of Baumol’s disease on future productivity growth in the US. The results suggest that future structural change will not reduce productivity much further thanks to substitutability within the broader service sector.

Benjamin Pugsley, Petr Sedláček, Vincent Sterk, 11 May 2018

In order to design effective policies to foster high-growth startups, we must first understand what sets these ‘gazelles’ apart from other startups. This column combines data covering US employers since the late 1970s with a macroeconomic model of firm dynamics to show that much of the performance of a firm is driven by factors that are determined at or just before the time of startup. Understanding how policies affect which types of people aspire to become entrepreneurs, how they develop business models, and which ideas they ultimately pursue is therefore important.

Pauline Charnoz, Claire Lelarge, Corentin Trevien, 22 April 2018

Research has shown that lower communication costs can act as a centralising force, prompting workers tend to rely more on the help of others and to specialise on a narrower set of tasks. This column reveals how reduced travel times resulting from a new high-speed rail transport in France fostered functional specialisation across different units of firms and greater centralisation. The findings highlight the mechanisms determining the level and distribution of productivity in an economy, and their redistributive impact both between and within firms

Kun Jiang, Wolfgang Keller, Larry D. Qiu, William Ridley, 15 April 2018

China’s government mandates that foreign investors in certain industries form joint ventures with a domestic Chinese partner. The column uses a dataset accounting for all joint ventures in China from 1998 to 2007 to show that this policy is successful in its aim of encouraging technology transfer from foreign investors to domestic operations. It finds empirical evidence for the existence of at least three channels through which this transfer takes place.

Naomitsu Yashiro, Konstantins Benkovskis, Jaan Masso, Olegs Tkacevs, Priit Vahter, 13 April 2018

Participation in global value chains provides emerging economies with opportunities for fast-track development and technological upgrading. This column argues that countries need to diversify their exports into knowledge-intensive products and services that generate high value added to make the most out of learning by exporting. Countries that specialise in standardised, generic products or services may not enjoy sufficient improvements in productivity, even if such exports channel knowledge transfer.

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