Industrial Productivity in Europe
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Industrial Productivity in Europe

Growth and Crisis

Edited by Matilde Mas and Robert Stehrer

This book analyzes growth at the total economy and industry level from an international perspective, providing unique cross-country comparisons. The authors focus on the EU-25 countries but also include the US, Japan and Korea. The chapters explore growth patterns from a long-run perspective, although greater attention is paid to the period of expansion from 1995–2007 and the post 2008 period of crisis. Each contribution builds on a common methodology based on a detailed database providing a high degree of disaggregation with respect to the industries and factors accounting for growth. The role played by ICT is expertly emphasized, in particular the different paths followed in the US and the EU.
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Chapter 5: Productivity Performance in Three Small European Countries: Austria, Belgium and the Netherlands

Chantal Kegels, Michael Peneder and Henry van der Wiel


Chantal Kegels, Michael Peneder and Henry van der Wiel 5.1 INTRODUCTION The launch of the Lisbon Strategy in 2000 was strongly motivated by the observation of a declining trend in European labour productivity growth over the preceding decade. Labour productivity growth is important since it affects our wages and living standards. From World War II up to 1995, Europe’s productivity growth was higher than that of the United States (US), linked to a process of catching-up to the US productivity level. However, from 1995 to 2007, labour productivity growth of the majority of European Union (EU) countries gradually slowed down, whereas it substantially accelerated in the US. Hence, the EU ceased to converge to the US level after 1995. The crisis years after 2007 mark an even sharper contrast between the EU and the US. Labour productivity growth was falling by almost 1 per cent on average in the EU, while US labour productivity increased, with more than 1.5 per cent. However, this disappointing development for Europe as a whole does not necessarily apply to all European countries. Actually, the period after the mid-1990s marks a period of increasing divergences in productivity growth patterns inside the EU. The productivity performances of the Scandinavian countries are, for example, in line with those of the US but are far from the Spanish or Italian developments. What about the small countries of Europe: Austria, Belgium and the Netherlands? This study analyses their productivity performance. If only because of their language and historical cultural...

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