Directions for the Sustainable Development and Competitiveness of Regions
New Horizons in Regional Science series
Edited by Charlie Karlsson, Börje Johansson and Roger R. Stough
Chapter 11: Do different measures of economic growth lead to different conclusions?
Growth and regional growth are regularly concepts of current interest. Studies of regional growth have been conducted by numerous scholars but the way that the growth concept is defined and the way it is measured varies a great deal. Lack of proper regional data may be a reason why this discrepancy occurs. Economic growth is closely related to the industrial structure, health, and demography and income distribution of the economy. The measure used for national economic growth is the change in gross domestic product (GDP). GDP measures the value added of all goods and services produced in the economy. The production of goods and services generates primary incomes for households; another method of measuring GDP is therefore to add up all incomes. One part of this income consists of the sum of all wages paid to households. Hence wage sum data are sometimes used as an alternative measure of economic growth. There are different ways to use GDP and wage sum data to measure economic growth at the regional level. In Sweden, the gross regional product (GRP) change is used by Statistics Sweden and Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth. The Swedish Agency for Growth Policy Analysis (Growth Analysis) on the other hand uses changes in labor productivity as a measure of economic growth in regions. Growth analysis then uses wage sum per employee or wage sum per capita as an estimator of labor productivity.
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