Productivity isn’t everything, but in the long run it is almost everything

(P. Krugmann, 1994)

 

Productivity: What is it and why do we care about it?

Productivity is about “working smarter” rather than “working harder”. It reflects our ability to produce more output by better combining inputs, owing to new ideas, technological innovations and business models. Productivity growth is therefore essential for an economy to increase its living standards and offer future generations a better live. 

Why are so many economies worried about their productivity performance lately?

Despite rapid technological change, increasing participation of firms and countries in global value chains, and rising education levels, productivity growth has slowed across all advanced economies. In fact, productivity growth in the post-crisis period was even weaker than before the crisis. These seemingly contradictory facts have sparked a lively debate on the underlying causes and future prospects.

About -Growth in labour productivity in advanced economies since 1970

Notes: Central Europe includes Austria, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland; Nordic countries includes: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden; Southern Europe includes Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain. For 1970-96, Central Europe excludes Austria.
Source:OECD Productivity Statistics (database), February 2016.

What are OECD countries doing?

Most countries have established public bodies that provide analysis and policy advice on productivity related issues. Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, Norway, Mexico and Chile for instance have established Productivity Commissions to develop better long-term policies. Other countries and supra-national authorities such as the European Council have adopted multi-faceted institutional arrangements and recommendations that are oriented towards enhancing productivity. On a multinational level, these efforts are brought together by a group of 16 OECD member countries under the auspices of the Global Forum on Productivity (GFP). 

The Global Forum on Productivity – How we contribute to the debate

The GFP brings together the national and supra-national efforts mentioned above so as to leverage country-specific experiences to the long-term benefit of other countries. It is a practical, interactive tool that helps to promote the international co-operation on analysis; allows for a mutual exchange of information and data; and facilitates the sharing of experiences and policy developments. In so doing, the GFP can help those inside or outside governments seeking answers to three questions:

  • What factors can explain the productivity slowdown?
  • What can countries do to improve future prospects for productivity growth and innovation?
  • What can countries do to improve the design of institutions seeking to promote higher productivity and inclusiveness?

Productivity team

The work programme of the GFP is guided by a Steering Group of founding countries. The group provides support and funding to the activities of the GFP.

Chairs of the Steering Group:

Jenny Bates is Chief Analyst/Chief Economist at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), a post she has held since January 2015. In this role, Jenny is responsible for analysis of the UK economy and productivity, advice on the value for money of departmental spending and the economic impact of regulations, as well as developing the longer term evidence base around policies to support growth and productivity. 

 

 

Ana Gouveia

Ana Gouveia is currently the head of the research department of the Office for Economic Policy and International Affairs at the Portuguese Ministry of Finance and holds a PhD in Economics. She is also a guest lecturer of public economics at Nova School of Business and Economics. Ana has previously worked at the Ministry for the Economy, the European Central Bank and the Portuguese Central Bank. Her main research interests overlap with those of the Forum, as she has been working quite actively in the area of productivity growth and structural reforms, in particular by using firm-level data. Ana is also a member of several European Commission and OECD fora. She played a key role in the preparation of the first high level conference of the GFP, which took place in Lisbon last July, in close cooperation with the OECD team.

Stefan Profit

Stefan Profit holds the position of a Deputy Director General in the Economic Policy Department of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy. His directorate deals with macroeconomic developments, economic analyses and projections. Before assuming this position, he was in charge of a unit focusing on the empirical research in the field of inclusive growth, productivity and investment, as well as assessing growth and distributional effects of structural reforms. During previous assignments in the ministry, he worked in the field of labor market reform and energy policy, foreign economic affairs, policy planning, and served as a personal advisor to the Minister. Previous to his engagement within the federal government he worked for the Bertelsmann Foundation. He has an academic background in labor economics holding a doctoral degree in Economics from Humboldt University Berlin.

OECD Secretariat:

Chiara Criscuolo

Chiara Criscuolo leads the productivity, enterprise dynamics and policy evaluation work of the Directorate for Science Technology and Innovation (STI), including its forefront cross-country microdata projects. Prior to joining OECD, she was at the London School of Economics. She holds a PhD in Economics from University College London and her work features in leading outlets, including the American Economic Review.

Patrick Lenain

Patrick Lenain leads a team of OECD economists who provide economic advice to the governments of Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Mexico and United States. This advice is based on empirical research and econometric tools applied to households and firm-level surveys and uses administrative tax and social records. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Economics at Université de Paris-Est, where he teaches macroeconomic policy and research methodology. Before joining the OECD, he had a career of 15 years at the IMF. He has also served as senior advisor to the French Treasury and the European Commission.

Giuseppe Nicoletti has been heading since 2004 the Structural Policy Analysis Division at the OECD Economics Department, where he is in charge of cross-country structural studies, including the Productivity Workstream. He has published extensively on both refereed journals and volumes on the influence of policies and institutions on the determinants of growth and productivity. He holds a Ph. D. in Economics from New York University.


 

 

Dan Andrews leads the Productivity Workstream in the OECD Economics Department. His research typically exploits micro-data to assess the impact of structural reforms on aggregate productivity, with a particular focus on resource misallocation, innovation and diffusion.

 

Sean Dougherty has led advisory and benchmarking work on key emerging economies (currently Mexico and Chile, previously China and India) in the OECD’s Economics Department, and co-ordinates membership of the GFP Steering Group. He has published papers exploiting microdata to better understand the policy drivers of productivity, notably related to legal and regulatory institutions. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the Paris School of Economics.

 

 

Christina Timiliotis

Christina Timiliotis supports the coordination and development of the GFP activities and works on monetary policies and productivity within the OECD Economics Department. She holds a Masters degree from Paris School of Economics.

Jonathan Timmis works on Global Value Chains and Productivity within the OECD Science Technology and Innovation Directorate.  His research also exploits micro-data to measure the impact of ICT on firm performance and trade flows.  He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Nottingham. 

 

Gabriel Gomes contributes to the development of the GFP website and is responsible for the country profiles. He also supports the organization of GFP workshops and regional events. Prior to joining the GFP team, he worked in the OECD Public Economics Division. He holds a Research Master’s degree in Macroeconomics from the Paris Nanterre University and just finished writing a PhD thesis at the same institution

 

Sarah Michelson Sarah Michelson is currently working as a project co-ordinator for the Global Forum on Productivity. Prior to joining the Economics Department of the OECD in 2013, Sarah worked in the Public Sector Integrity division. She holds a Masters in contemporary History from Université Paris 1, Panthéon-Sorbonne.
 Daniela MICHEL-PERTIERRA - picture

Daniela Michel-Pertierra assists the GFP team with the organisation of its annual meeting, and works on event organisation and office support within the OECD Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation. She holds a Masters in Translation and Interpreting from Granada University.

 

 

Founding members of the Global Forum on Productivity
 

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