Over the past few decades there have been surges in productivity in a number of countries, in particular in the UK under the Thatcher government. Explanations of these changes have not been satisfactory. This compelling 1996 book examines the data relating to these changes at an individual establishment level. Chapters cover the UK, the USA, Canada, Japan, Australia, Belgium, Norway and Sweden, and comparisons also include Germany and the Netherlands. Using a variety of the most up-to-date methods of analysis, the contributors show that there is no single simple explanation. Changes in competitive conditions, skills, innovation and the growth of small firms all have their part to play, as does the widespread closure of the least productive establishments.
• The contributors use data from a number of countries throughout the world to draw international comparisons • Includes the innovative use of detailed establishment level data to examine the problem • The research programme behind this book was jointly funded by the Fulbright Commission and the National Institute of Economic and Policy Research
1. Introduction David G. Mayes; 2. Productivity growth in the 1980s Melanie Lansbury and David Mayes; 3. Entry, exit, ownership and the growth of productivity Melanie Lansbury and David Mayes; 4. Shifts in the production frontier and the distribution of efficiency Melanie Lansbury and David Mayes; 5. Productivity, quality and the production process. A comment of chapters 2–4 Keith Cowling and Guy Vernon; 6. Productivity, machinery and skills in engineering: an Anglo-Dutch comparison Geoff Mason and Bart van Ark; 7. Knowledge, increasing returns and the UK production function Gavin Cameron and John Muellbauer; 8. Anglo-German productivity performance since 1973 Mary O'Mahony and Karin Wagner; 9. Productivity at the plant and industry levels in Australia Chris Harris; 10. Nonparametric approaches to the assessment of the relative efficiency of bank branches Henry Tulkens and Amador Malnero; 11. Productivity growth, plant turnover and restructuring in the Canadian manufacturing sector John R. Baldwin; 12. Downsizing and productivity growth: myth or reality? Martin Neil Baily, Eric J. Bartelsman and John Haltiwanger; 13. Sources of productivity slowdown in Swedish manufacturing 1964–89 Bo Walfridson and Lennart Hjalmarsson; 14. Productivity of Norwegian establishments: a Malmquist index approach Finn R. Førsund; 15. X-inefficiency in measured technical inefficiency Akio Torii; Notes; References.