Productivity Growth: Patterns and Determinants across the World

Produced by: 
The World Bank
Available from: 
May 2019
Paper author(s): 
Young Eun Kim
Norman V. Loayza
Microeconomics - Competition - Productivity

This is the background paper for the productivity extension of the World Bank’s Long-Term Growth Model (LTGM). Based on an extensive literature review, the paper identifies the main determinants of economic productivity as innovation, education, market efficiency, infrastructure, and institutions. Based on underlying proxies, the paper constructs indexes representing each of the main categories of productivity determinants and, combining them through principal component analysis, obtains an overall determinant index. This is done for every year in the three decades spanning 1985–2015 and for more than 100 countries. In parallel, the paper presents a measure of total factor productivity (TFP), largely obtained from the Penn World Table, and assesses the pattern of productivity growth across regions and income groups over the same sample. The paper then examines the relationship between the measures of TFP and its determinants. The variance of productivity growth is decomposed into the share explained by each of its main determinants, and the relationship between productivity growth and the overall determinant index is identified. The variance decomposition results show that the highest contributor among the determinants to the variance in TFP growth is market efficiency for Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries and education for developing countries in the most recent decade. The regression results indicate that, controlling for country- and time-specific effects, TFP growth has a positive and significant relationship with the proposed TFP determinant index and a negative relationship with initial TFP. This relationship is then used to provide a set of simulations on the potential path of TFP growth if certain improvements on TFP determinants are achieved. The paper presents and discusses some of these simulations for groups of countries by geographic region and income level. An accompanying Excel-based toolkit, linked to the LTGM, provides a larger set of simulations and scenario analysis at the country level for the next few decades.


Research section: 
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