Market services productivity

Since the mid-1990s, market services have positively influenced labor productivity growth in the US, but not in most European countries. We analyze these cross-country differences in growth dynamics using industry-level measures of output, inputs, and multifactor productivity (MFP) from the new EU KLEMS database. We find that using detailed data has important implications for empirical analysis of policy influences on growth. Increased investment in information and communication technology (ICT) capital and growth in human capital contributed substantially to labor productivity growth in market services across all European countries and the US. However, countries differ most strongly in the rates of efficiency improvement in the use of inputs. We find no evidence of an externality-driven relationship between such efficiency changes and the growth of ICT use or of employment of university-educated workers. We also find that entry liberalization has been beneficial for productivity growth in telecommunications, but not in other service industries.

— Robert Inklaar, Marcel P. Timmer and Bart van Ark