1887

OECD Economics Department Working Papers

Working papers from the Economics Department of the OECD that cover the full range of the Department’s work including the economic situation, policy analysis and projections; fiscal policy, public expenditure and taxation; and structural issues including ageing, growth and productivity, migration, environment, human capital, housing, trade and investment, labour markets, regulatory reform, competition, health, and other issues.

The views expressed in these papers are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the OECD or of the governments of its member countries.

English, French

Can productivity still grow in service-based economies?

Literature overview and preliminary evidence from OECD countries

Services employ an ever-increasing share of workers in all OECD countries. This trend is likely to continue as it reflects deep structural forces, such as increasing consumption of services with rising incomes and population ageing and the growing role of intangible assets. Services are very diverse, but overall tend to have weaker productivity levels and growth rates than manufacturing. As a result, the shift to services entails a moderate but persistent drag on productivity growth. Still, there are reasons to hope for a pick-up in service productivity in the future, including thanks to new technologies (e.g. digital platforms, artificial intelligence). This concerns both “knowledge intensive” services (e.g. information and communication) and less knowledge intensive ones (e.g. personal transport). Harnessing this productivity potential requires adjusting policies to foster innovation and efficient use of new technologies, enhance competitive forces by reducing information asymmetries, barriers to entry and switching costs, and increase the tradability of services within countries and across borders.

English

Keywords: online platforms, productivity, structural change, automation, measurement, services
JEL: E24: Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics / Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy / Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity; L80: Industrial Organization / Industry Studies: Services / Industry Studies: Services: General; O40: Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth / Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity / Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity: General
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