Anglo-German Productivity Differences: The Role of Broad Capital

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Abstract

This paper investigates the role of broad capital in explaining Anglo-German labour productivity differences in manufacturing, where broad capital includes physical capital, workforce skills and R&D expenditure. All three forms of capital are found to have a significant impact on relative productivity but only workforce skills have a coefficient greater than that implied by standard ‘growth accounting’ methods. This is interpreted as supporting the idea that there are some external effects from human capital formation which raise the productivity of all workers in an industry. After allowing for broad capital the results suggest that Britain had a multifactor productivity advantage over Germany in the late 1980s.

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