OECD Statistics Working Papers

The OECD Statistics Working Paper Series - managed by the OECD Statistics and Data Directorate – is designed to make available in a timely fashion and to a wider readership selected studies prepared by staff in the Secretariat or by outside consultants working on OECD projects. The papers included are of a technical, methodological or statistical policy nature and relate to statistical work relevant to the organisation. The Working Papers are generally available only in their original language - English or French - with a summary in the other.

Joint Working Paper

Measuring Well-being and Progress in Countries at Different Stages of Development: Towards a More Universal Conceptual Framework (with OECD Development Centre)

Measuring and Assessing Job Quality: The OECD Job Quality Framework (with OECD Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs)

Forecasting GDP during and after the Great Recession: A contest between small-scale bridge and large-scale dynamic factor models (with OECD Economics Directorate)

Decoupling of wages from productivity: Macro-level facts (with OECD Economics Directorate)

Which policies increase value for money in health care? (with OECD Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs)

Compiling mineral and energy resource accounts according to the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA) 2012 (with OECD Environment Directorate)


Productivity measurement, R&D assets and mark-ups in OECD countries

A key feature of the 2008 revision of the System of National Accounts was the treatment of R&D expenditure as investment. The question arises whether the standard approach towards accounting for growth contribution of assets is justified given the special nature of R&D that provides capital services by affecting the working of other inputs as a whole – akin to technical change and often requires up-front investment with sunk costs. We model R&D inputs with a restricted cost function and compare econometric estimates with those derived under a standard index number approach but find no significant differences. However, we cannot reject the hypothesis of increasing returns to scale. The standard MFP measure is then broken down into a scale effect and a residual productivity effect, each of which explains about half of overall MFP change. The scale effect points to the importance of the demand side and market size for productivity growth. We also compute mark-up rates of prices over marginal cost and find widespread evidence of rising mark-ups for the period 1985-2016.


Keywords: Productivity, R&D, Mark-ups, Returns to scale
JEL: D24: Microeconomics / Production and Organizations / Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
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