Public Enterprise Revisited
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Public Enterprise Revisited

A Closer Look at the 1954–79 UK Labour Productivity Record

Chrisafis H. Iordanoglou

The book compares the 1954–79 labour productivity record of 5 expanding public sector industries to that of 24 expanding, capital intensive, mass-production industries in the British private sector. The author shows that the public sector industries’ labour productivity growth was significantly faster than that of the private sector industries. Strikingly, he also finds that the state-owned industries were narrowing their productivity gap with their US counterparts at a significantly faster rate than the private sector industries. Dr Iordanoglou concludes that it is possible that public ownership had – in the historical period investigated – a long-term positive effect on these industries.
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Chapter 4: US–UK Labour Productivity Comparisons

Chrisafis H. Iordanoglou

Extract

4. US–UK labour productivity comparisons 4.1 PRESENTATION OF THE ESTIMATES The two sets of results of the US–UK labour productivity comparisons are presented in Tables 4.1A–C and 4.1D–F. The estimates of Tables 4.1A–C are based on comparative net output per employee value ratios that have been converted into a common currency (sterling) by purchasing power parities (PPPs) appropriate for each individual industry. Tables 4.1B and 4.1C contain the UK and the US weighted productivity indices, respectively. Table 4.1A presents the geometric means (Fisher indices) of the US and the UK weighted estimates for each industry and year of comparison. The Fisher indices are the final summary of my US–UK productivity comparisons. The estimates of Tables 4.1D–F are comparative gross output per employee value ratios converted into a common currency by the same PPPs that have been used for their net output counterparts. The Fisher, the UK weighted and the US weighted productivity indices are shown in Tables 4.1D, 4.1E and 4.1F respectively. The gross output estimates will serve as a check on the inferences drawn from my main net output results. The selection of the years of comparison was determined by the availability or otherwise of US and UK Census of Production data.1 For most industries the years of comparison were 1954, 1963, 1967/682 and 1977. In none of these years was economic activity at its peak in either country. In the case of the 1963, 1967/68 and 1977 comparisons the two countries...

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