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The Productivity of Nations

Oleg Badunenko (), Daniel Henderson () and Valentin Zelenyuk

No WP022017, CEPA Working Papers Series from University of Queensland, School of Economics

Abstract: This paper scrutinizes research on the productivity of nations with a particular focus on the preceding 50 years. First, we briefly synopsize classic studies on economic growth and convergence of nations. The main criticism of these studies is that they did not account for potential inefficiency of countries. The production frontier literature attempts to deal with this issue and we give a brief introduction to it with a focus on data envelopment analysis. One central point of this review is the analysis of sources of productivity growth before and after 1990, a period of time, which appears to be a point of a structural change in growth patterns around the world. The second thread of this paper concerns the forces behind the transformation of the worldwide productivity distribution from a uni-modal to a bimodal distribution during the 1990s. Finally, we emphasize caveats and outline possible directions for future research.

Date: 2017-04
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