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Allocative Efficiency and Aggregate Productivity Growth in Canada and the United States

Lin Shao and Rongsheng Tang ()

Staff Working Papers from Bank of Canada

Abstract: This paper evaluates the contribution of allocative efficiency to the aggregate productivity growth in Canada and the US. In particular, we are interested in explaining two puzzling facts: 1) the slowdown in productivity growth during the 1970s and the 2000s in the US, and 2) the widening Canada-US productivity gap since the middle of the 1980s. We extend the framework of Oberfield (2013) to derive sufficient statistics for allocative efficiency and decompose aggregate productivity in an input-output economy à la Jones (2013). The lack of improvement in allocative efficiency can explain two-thirds of the US’s productivity slowdown and more than one-third of the widening Canada-US productivity gap. The allocation of capital, rather than labor, was the main driver behind the overall movement in allocative efficiency. Resources allocated to service sectors were significantly lower than the optimal level. It improved markedly over time, especially in the US before the 2000s.

Keywords: Economic models; Productivity (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C67 D4 D57 E23 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 56 pages
Date: 2021-01
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-eff and nep-mac
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:bca:bocawp:21-1

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