Purpose – In this paper, the authors study the long-run determinants of total factor productivity (TFP) in three major European economies over the period 1983–2017, namely Germany, France and Italy. Design/methodology/approach – The authors focus on the capital misallocation effects, scale effects and labor misallocation effects. To this end, the authors study how real interest rate shocks, real exchange rate shocks, real wage shocks and changes in labor regulation affected TFP in major European countries over the last decades. The authors employ a theoretical and an empirical model to investigate the issue. The empirical results are obtained using a VAR model for estimation. Findings – A stripped-down model of labor market in open economy with technology progress allows to identify the relevant variables affecting TFP. On the empirical ground, the authors find a positive relationship between TFP and real interest rate in the long run. Importantly, the authors detect a positive relationship between TFP and real exchange rate. Further, the authors show that the TFP can respond positively to a stricter labor market regulation and to a higher real compensation per employee. The results provide support to the idea that TFP has a positive relation with prices in the long run, while it may be biased along the cycle because of price rigidity. Research limitations/implications – The present model is stylized and may not capture all of the details of reality. The analysis should be extended to a larger number of countries. Technology progress could be proxied using different variables, as the R&D expenditure or the number of patents. Micro data, for specific sectors and industries, can improve the quality of the empirical investigation. Practical implications – Mainly the authors find that TFP has a positive relationship with price changes in the long run, while it may be biased along the cycle because of price stickiness. Capital misallocation and labor misallocation can negatively affect TFP. Thus, the observed divergences in European TFP can be traced back to the misallocation effects attributable to the decrease of real interest rate and real wages, together with the raising labor flexibility. Mainly, the authors detect a positive long-run relationship between TFP and real exchange rate. This outcome strengthens the supply-side view of the relationship between productivity and real exchange rate. Social implications – The authors believe that the present setup can be helpful to reflect critically on the nodes at the core of the productivity slowdown and asymmetries in the eurozone. The aim is to implement renewed policies in order to favor economic growth, convergence and stability in the euro area. Originality/value – This research addresses the issue of asymmetries among European economies by focusing on the role played by real prices in the long run. Traditionally, the dynamics of TFP have been attributed only to technological components, human capital and knowledge. This work shows that the dynamics of prices such as the real interest rate, the real exchange rate and the real wage can also influence the technological process by pushing the production system toward choices that are not always optimal for economic growth. An interesting result of this research concerns the positive relationship between real exchange rates and TFP in the long term, evidence of an important supply-side effect on the technological process.

Asymmetries in the euro area and TFP growth: evidence from three major European economies

Bellocchi, Alessandro;Sanchez Carrera, Edgar;Travaglini, Giuseppe
2020

Abstract

Purpose – In this paper, the authors study the long-run determinants of total factor productivity (TFP) in three major European economies over the period 1983–2017, namely Germany, France and Italy. Design/methodology/approach – The authors focus on the capital misallocation effects, scale effects and labor misallocation effects. To this end, the authors study how real interest rate shocks, real exchange rate shocks, real wage shocks and changes in labor regulation affected TFP in major European countries over the last decades. The authors employ a theoretical and an empirical model to investigate the issue. The empirical results are obtained using a VAR model for estimation. Findings – A stripped-down model of labor market in open economy with technology progress allows to identify the relevant variables affecting TFP. On the empirical ground, the authors find a positive relationship between TFP and real interest rate in the long run. Importantly, the authors detect a positive relationship between TFP and real exchange rate. Further, the authors show that the TFP can respond positively to a stricter labor market regulation and to a higher real compensation per employee. The results provide support to the idea that TFP has a positive relation with prices in the long run, while it may be biased along the cycle because of price rigidity. Research limitations/implications – The present model is stylized and may not capture all of the details of reality. The analysis should be extended to a larger number of countries. Technology progress could be proxied using different variables, as the R&D expenditure or the number of patents. Micro data, for specific sectors and industries, can improve the quality of the empirical investigation. Practical implications – Mainly the authors find that TFP has a positive relationship with price changes in the long run, while it may be biased along the cycle because of price stickiness. Capital misallocation and labor misallocation can negatively affect TFP. Thus, the observed divergences in European TFP can be traced back to the misallocation effects attributable to the decrease of real interest rate and real wages, together with the raising labor flexibility. Mainly, the authors detect a positive long-run relationship between TFP and real exchange rate. This outcome strengthens the supply-side view of the relationship between productivity and real exchange rate. Social implications – The authors believe that the present setup can be helpful to reflect critically on the nodes at the core of the productivity slowdown and asymmetries in the eurozone. The aim is to implement renewed policies in order to favor economic growth, convergence and stability in the euro area. Originality/value – This research addresses the issue of asymmetries among European economies by focusing on the role played by real prices in the long run. Traditionally, the dynamics of TFP have been attributed only to technological components, human capital and knowledge. This work shows that the dynamics of prices such as the real interest rate, the real exchange rate and the real wage can also influence the technological process by pushing the production system toward choices that are not always optimal for economic growth. An interesting result of this research concerns the positive relationship between real exchange rates and TFP in the long term, evidence of an important supply-side effect on the technological process.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11576/2679581
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