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Nordic Economic Policy Review

Productivity and competitiveness

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The Nordic Economic Policy Review is published by the Nordic Council of Ministers and addresses policy issues in a way that is useful for in-formed non-specialists as well as for professional economists. All articles are commissioned from leading professional economists and are subject to peer review prior to publication. The review appears twice a year. The journal is distributed free of charge to the members of the Nordic economic associations. The easiest way to subscribe to the NEPR is therefore to become a member of one of these associations, i.e., Denmark: Nationaløkonomisk Forening Finland: Taloustieteellinen Yhdistys Norway: Samfunnsøkonomene Sweden: Nationalekonomiska Föreningen. For institutional subscriptions, please contact [email protected] Content: The widening productivity gap between the EU and the US: An introduction to the conference on productivity and competitiveness - Jakob B. Madsen and Anders Sørensen Up the hill and down again: A history of Europe’s productivity gap relative to the United States, 1950-2009 - Bart van Ark Comment by Matti Pohjola Regulation, resource reallocation and productivity growth - Jens Matthias Arnold, Giuseppe Nicoletti and Stefano Scarpetta Comment by Mika Maliranta Human capital and productivity - Angel de la Fuente Comment by Pekka Ilmakunnas Productivity and international firm activities: What do we know? - Joachim Wagner Comment by Markku Stenborg Innovation and productivity - Bronwyn H. Hall Comment by Ari Hyytinen A personnel economics approach to productivity enhancement - Edward P. Lazear and Kathryn L. Shaw Comment by Tuomas Pekkarinen Productivity and education: Benchmarking of elementary and lower secondary schools in Denmark - Peter Bogetoft and Jesper Wittrup Comment by Timo Kuosmanen

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Comment on van Ark: Up the hill and down again: A history of Europe's productivity gap relative to the United States, 1950-2009

Bart van Ark’s paper is an insightful historical analysis of the fact that slower labour productivity growth in Europe as compared to the United States since the mid-1990s reversed the long-term pattern of convergence. It attributes this “American-European productivity paradox” to Europe’s weaker ability to benefit from the knowledge economy and the market service sector, explains it by labour and product market regulation and calls for policy measures that would improve the performance of the market service sector. I will here concentrate on four issues which I find relevant for policy-makers, especially in the Nordic countries.

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