Interest in the services sector is growing across OECD countries. At the OECD, the importance of services was raised at the annual Ministerial Council Meeting (MCM) of April 2003. At that meeting, the Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry pointed out that the reform of the service sector is the key to revitalising the economies of many OECD countries. Indeed, the need for better performance of the service sector owes to its growing weight in OECD economies; if policy makers wish to increase employment rates and aggregate productivity growth, the services sector will need to make a larger contribution than is currently the case.
At the 2003 MCM meeting, the Japanese delegation proposed that the OECD undertake work on the service economy, the results of which would be presented to the 2005 Ministerial Council Meeting. This work would need to draw on work throughout the Organisation and would need to provide a synthesis of our understanding of the growing service economy and of the best practice policies in the sector best suited to promote productivity, growth and employment in OECD countries.
The interested in services is also increasingly affecting the work of statistical offices. The problems with services statistics are well known and have been the subject of work at the international level for many years, e.g. in the context of the Voorburg Group, a so-called city group of the United Nations focusing on services statistics. To help address some of the major measurement challenges, OECD organised a workshop on services in the context of the official meeting of the Statistical Working Party, in November 2004. The workshop focused on a number of themes that were of particular interest for the OECD work on services.
Session 1: Overview of OECD work on services. This introductory session gave a brief overview of OECD and EU work on services.
Improving the statistical basis for empirical analysis of the services sector, Dirk Pilat, OECD
Overview of statistical work on services, Bill Cave, OECD
Eurostat strategy on services sector statistics, Merja Hult, Eurostat
Session 2: Measuring the integration of manufacturing and services. A particularly important issue in the context of the growing role of services concerns the links between different sectors of the economy, notably manufacturing, and the ways in which these interactions could potentially be measured. This session presented some new statistical work in this area.
The growth of services and the interaction with manufacturing - measures based on enterprise and establishment data, Dirk Pilat, OECD, based on contributions from statistical offices in the OECD area.
Inter-enterprise relations – findings from a new survey, Peter Boegh-Nielsen, European Commission
The diversification of services companies in France, Benjamin Camus, INSEE
Interactions between services and manufacturing – findings from input-output tables and occupation data, Anita Wölfl, OECD and CEPII
Session 3: The measurement of output, prices and productivity in services. Measuring output, prices and productivity in the services sector remains a key challenge. Better measures are being developed in some OECD countries and the workshop discussed some new and innovative approaches to output, price and productivity measurement in services, with a focus on a sector that accounts for much of the variation in productivity growth across OECD countries, namely retailing.
Price and volume measurement in services – current recommendations for NSIs, Paul Konijn, Eurostat
Producer price measures in OECD countries – An overview, Seppo Varjonen, OECD
Outcomes of the OECD taskforce on finance and insurance, Anders Nordin, OECD
Productivity measurement in services, Barry Bosworth – Brookings Institution
Productivity measures for retail trade: Data and issues, Marilyn Manser, Bureau of Labor Statistics
Productivity Differentials in U.S. and EU Retailing: Statistical Myth or Reality?, Bart van Ark, University of Groningen
Session 4: Micro perspectives on the services sector. This session highlighted new statistical and empirical work with firm-level data that is currently underway across OECD countries and their implications for our understanding of growth in the services sector. It particularly focused on micro work on the retailing sector.
A micro-perspective on productivity growth in services, Eric Bartelsman, Free University Amsterdam
Producer dynamics in the US retail sector, Ron Jarmin and Javier Miranda, US Bureau of the Census
Firm performance in retailing – the Japanese case, Toshiyuki Matsuura, RIETI and Kazuyuki Motohashi, RIETI and University of Tokyo
Productivity in UK retailing – Evidence from micro data, Jonathan Haskel and Raffaela Sadun, LSE
Firm turnover in the services sector – evidence for Canada, John Baldwin and Wulong Gu, Statistics Canada
Session 5: Explanations for the growing share of services and the differences across OECD countries. The final session of the workshop discussed why OECD countries differ in the contribution that services make to their economy.
The role of institutions on service employment, Julian Messina, European Central Bank
The impact of policy heterogeneity on trade and investment in services, Henk Kox, CPB Netherlands