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Marc Stocker

20 October 2006
This paper provides a description and a discussion of some important aspects relating to recent productivity developments in the euro area. Following decades of stronger gains in the euro area than in the US, labour productivity growth has fallen behind that in the US in recent years. This reflects a decline in average labour productivity growth observed in the euro area since the mid-1990s, which stands in sharp contrast with opposite developments in the US. The decline in labour productivity growth experienced in the euro area since the mid-1990s resulted from both lower capital deepening and lower total factor productivity growth. From a sectoral perspective, industries not producing or using intensively information and communication technology (ICT) would appear mostly responsible for the decline in average labour productivity growth since the mid-1990s. These developments were broadly experienced by most euro area countries. A comparison with developments in the US suggests that the euro area economy seems to have benefited much less from increased production and use of ICT technologies, in particular in the services sector. Diverging trends in labour productivity growth between the euro area and the US in recent years mainly reflect developments in a number of specific ICT-using services such as retail, wholesale and some financial services where strong gains were registered in the US. The evidence presented in this paper suggests that, in order to support economic growth in the euro area, emphasis should be given to both policy measures that directly address the determinants of productivity and, given the interactions among the various factors of growth, to policies that raise labour utilisation.
JEL Code
J24 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Demand and Supply of Labor→Human Capital, Skills, Occupational Choice, Labor Productivity
O47 : Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth→Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity→Measurement of Economic Growth, Aggregate Productivity, Cross-Country Output Convergence
22 June 2005
Do asset prices affect real activity? This question has taken on a new importance in recent years, as asset values first surged at the end of 1990s and, thereafter, dramatically retreated. This report reviews the available theoretical and empirical evidence regarding asset price and wealth effects in Europe and some other major economies. The main focus of this report is on consumption effects via the wealth channel, reflecting the bulk of literature on the effects of asset prices. However, asset price effects on investment via the Tobin
JEL Code
D1 : Microeconomics→Household Behavior and Family Economics
D3 : Microeconomics→Distribution
D9 : Microeconomics→Intertemporal Choice
G11 : Financial Economics→General Financial Markets→Portfolio Choice, Investment Decisions