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

Employment-Productivity Trade-off and Labour Composition

This paper formalises the analysis of the employment-productivity trade-off by extending the framework developed by Gordon (1997) to account for labour heterogeneity. The extent of the trade-off is determined by the extent of the adjustment of capital to effective labour and by the changes in aggregate labour quality. The main experiment reported in the paper consists of assessing the labour utilisation and productivity impacts in OECD countries of aligning group-specific employment rates to the US levels. Matching the US employment performance defined in that sense would enable low-employment OECD countries to reduce only half of the aggregate employment-rate gap vis-à-vis the United States, the other half being mechanically due to differences in the population structure by age and educational attainment. In this experiment, a 1% gain in employment is associated with a decrease of 0.24% in labour productivity on average across countries, and of 0.35% in low-employment countries.

English

Keywords: labour productivity, aggregate employment, demographics, quality of labour
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; J10: Labor and Demographic Economics / Demographic Economics / Demographic Economics: General; J21: Labor and Demographic Economics / Demand and Supply of Labor / Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure; J31: Labor and Demographic Economics / Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs / Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
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