Collaboration between the Asian Productivity Organization (APO) and OECD towards Improved Productivity Statistics
Productivity growth is a central driver of long-term economic growth and living standards but, in recent years, its contribution to growth has declined significantly in most countries. The COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated this decline, from a statistical and a structural perspective, as heightened uncertainty impacts on investment and, despite government support packages, many firms remain closed and jobs are being lost. Reigniting the productivity engine is more important than ever if economies are to build back better, and achieve sustainable, inclusive and resilient growth. To move in this direction, effective policy decisions must rely on evidence-based economic analyses, making the compilation of accurate and comprehensive productivity statistics paramount.
Certain measurement challenges – for example, the measurement of the non-observed economy, non-observed employment, and the self-employed – are more severe in many APO economies, where these phenomena are more prevalent. The APO and the OECD have clear mutual interests in the productivity measurement space and started discussions on a body of collaborative work in early 2019. In October 2019, the APO and the OECD signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), as part of a collaboration to develop improved and more comparable productivity statistics across APO and OECD member economies.
Progress to date
The first report explores current practices and challenges in productivity measurement and provides recommendations to National Statistics Offices (NSOs), National Productivity Organisations (NPOs), and other agencies involved in the compilation and analysis of productivity statistics in APO member economies to improve measurement and cross-country comparability. These agencies are the principal audience for the report as they are best placed to provide the most reliable inputs for productivity measurement given their access to, and knowledge of, the best data sources in their economy.