Industry and globalisation

Industry Productivity: International Comparison and Measurement Issues


How can we adequately compare output and productivity growth across countries? Well-established measures of output and productivity growth have come under scrutiny because they have not always been able to reflect the rapid quality changes in products - in particular in the information technology field. Moreover, developments in index number theory have suggested different ways of deriving aggregate measures of output and inputs. What is the impact on measures of industry productivity levels? What is the appropriate conversion factor for comparing these levels in a common currency?

This publication brings together articles by a range of international experts to address these issues and to present new empirical results. It had its origins in an OECD expert workshop held on 2-3 May 1996 which brought together some 50 experts and country delegates to discuss issues of productivity measurement.

Part I deals with an overview of the various issues involved in industry-level measurement of productivity. Part II focuses more specifically on the effects of quality-adjusted price indices on productivity measurement. Part III examines the impact of the introduction of alternative index number formulas on measured productivity. Part IV takes a close look at the theoretical and practical questions involved in comparisons of industry productivity levels across countries.