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In order to improve our understanding of the divergent evolutions that recently emerged between European countries in terms of labour productivity, this paper compares the labour productivity growth of three small open European countries: Austria, Belgium and the Netherlands. The analysis focuses on market services as they are the most important single factor that is responsible for the divergences. The comparison shows that, while Austria and Belgium recorded a decrease in their productivity growth between 1995 and 2004, the Netherlands followed the American pattern and has recorded an increase in their growth rate since 1995. The decomposition of labour productivity growth makes it possible to underline the important role played by total factor productivity (TFP) in the Dutch upsurge in productivity growth. The breakdown of the data by industry shows the importance of the Distribution sector in the Dutch performance. The growth of TFP observed in the Distribution sector is then linked to different potential determinants: ICT accumulation and use, labour qualifications, R&D and innovation and regulations.
Structural studies > Productivity and long-term growth
Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > Technological Change > General [O30]
Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity > Measurement of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity [O47]
Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > Economywide Country Studies > Comparative Studies of Countries [O57]