NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

What Determines Productivity?

Chad Syverson

NBER Working Paper No. 15712
Issued in January 2010
NBER Program(s):   EFG   IO   PR

Economists have shown that large and persistent differences in productivity levels across businesses are ubiquitous. This finding has shaped research agendas in a number of fields, including (but not limited to) macroeconomics, industrial organization, labor, and trade. This paper surveys and evaluates recent empirical work addressing the question of why businesses differ in their measured productivity levels. The causes are manifold, and differ depending on the particular setting. They include elements sourced in production practices--and therefore over which producers have some direct control, at least in theory--as well as from producers' external operating environments. After evaluating the current state of knowledge, I lay out what I see are the major questions that research in the area should address going forward.

download in pdf format
   (273 K)

email paper

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w15712

Published: Chad Syverson, 2011. "What Determines Productivity?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(2), pages 326-65, June. citation courtesy of

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded* these:
Bloom and Van Reenen w16019 Human Resource Management and Productivity
Woodford w15714 Simple Analytics of the Government Expenditure Multiplier
Hulten w7471 Total Factor Productivity: A Short Biography
Almond and Currie w15827 Human Capital Development Before Age Five
Gordon w15834 Revisiting U. S. Productivity Growth over the Past Century with a View of the Future
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Themes
Data
People
About

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us