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Antonin Bergeaud

29 June 2024
27 June 2024
27 February 2024
This paper studies the short-term and long-term consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic for productivity in Europe. Aggregate and sectoral evidence is complemented by firm-level data-based findings obtained from a large micro-distributed exercise. Productivity trends during the COVID-19 pandemic differed from past trends. Labour productivity per hour worked temporarily increased, while productivity per employee declined across sectors given the widespread use of job retention schemes. The extensive margin of productivity growth was muted to some degree by the policy support granted to firms. Firm entries declined while firm exits increased much less than during previous crises. The pandemic had a significant impact on the intensive margin of productivity growth and led to a temporary drop in within-firm productivity per employee and increased reallocation. Job reallocation was productivity-enhancing but subdued compared to the Great Recession. As confirmed by a granular data analysis of the distribution of employment subsidies and loan guarantees and moratoria, job reallocation and also debt distribution and“zombie firm” prevalence were not significantly affected by the COVID-19 policy support. The pandemic and related lockdowns accelerated changes in consumer preferences and working habits with potential long-term effects. Generous government support muted the surge in unemployment and reduced permanent scarring effects.
JEL Code
D22 : Microeconomics→Production and Organizations→Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
H25 : Public Economics→Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue→Business Taxes and Subsidies
J38 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs→Public Policy
O47 : Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth→Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity→Measurement of Economic Growth, Aggregate Productivity, Cross-Country Output Convergence
21 September 2021
The digitalisation workstream report analyses the degree of digital adoption across the euro area and EU countries and the implications of digitalisation for measurement, productivity, labour markets and inflation, as well as more recent developments during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and their implications. Analysis of these key issues and variables is aimed at improving our understanding of the implications of digitalisation for monetary policy and its transmission. The degree of digital adoption differs across the euro area/EU, implying heterogeneous impacts, with most EU economies currently lagging behind the United States and Japan. Rising digitalisation has rendered price measurement more challenging, owing to, among other things, faster changes in products and product quality, but also new ways of price setting, e.g. dynamic or customised pricing, and services that were previously payable but are now “free”. Despite the spread of digital technologies, aggregate productivity growth has decreased in most advanced economies since the 1970s. However, it is likely that without the spread of digital technologies the productivity slowdown would have been even more pronounced, and the recent acceleration in digitalisation is likely to boost future productivity gains from digitalisation. Digitalisation has spurred greater automation, with temporary labour market disruptions, albeit unevenly across sectors. The long-run employment effects of digitalisation can be benign, but its effects on wages and labour share depend on the structure of the economy and its labour market institutions. The pandemic has accelerated the use of teleworking: roughly every third job in the euro area/EU is teleworkable, although there are differences across countries. ...
JEL Code
E24 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy→Employment, Unemployment, Wages, Intergenerational Income Distribution, Aggregate Human Capital
E31 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Price Level, Inflation, Deflation
E32 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Business Fluctuations, Cycles
O33 : Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth→Technological Change, Research and Development, Intellectual Property Rights→Technological Change: Choices and Consequences, Diffusion Processes
O57 : Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth→Economywide Country Studies→Comparative Studies of Countries