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Mr. Sakai Ando
Although GDP growth in the Netherlands has recently been stronger than in peer countries, the main contributor has been the growth in labor. If GDP is divided by labor, productivity growth appears to have been slower than in peers. This chapter discusses both exogenous and endogenous factors behind the disappointing productivity growth in the Netherlands and derives policy implications.
Ms. Izabela Karpowicz and Mrs. Nujin Suphaphiphat
Advanced economies have been witnessing a pronounced slowdown of productivity growth since the global financial crisis that is accompanied in recent years by a withdrawal from trade integration processes. We study the determinants of productivity slowdown over the past two decades in four closely integrated European countries, Austria, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands, based on firm-level data. Participation in global value chains appears to have affected productivity positively, including through its effect on TFP when facilitated by higher investment in intangible assets, a proxy for firm innovation. Other contributors to productivity growth in firms are workforce aging, access to finance, and skills mismatches.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
After a sharp slowdown starting in 2018, euro area growth is expected to recover over the course of 2019. However, mounting downside risks from global trade tensions, a no-deal Brexit, and market concerns about countries with high public debt emphasize the precarious nature of the forecast. Even in the absence of a major shock, there is a danger that the area could enter a prolonged period of anemic growth and inflation. Policies should focus on supporting growth while also reducing vulnerabilities.
Mr. Sebastian Acevedo Mejia, Mr. Mico Mrkaic, Natalija Novta, Evgenia Pugacheva, and Petia Topalova
Global temperatures have increased at an unprecedented pace in the past 40 years. This paper finds that increases in temperature have uneven macroeconomic effects, with adverse consequences concentrated in countries with hot climates, such as most low-income countries. In these countries, a rise in temperature lowers per capita output, in both the short and medium term, through a wide array of channels: reduced agricultural output, suppressed productivity of workers exposed to heat, slower investment, and poorer health. In an unmitigated climate change scenario, and under very conservative assumptions, model simulations suggest the projected rise in temperature would imply a loss of around 9 percent of output for a representative low-income country by 2100.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This Selected Issues paper analyzes productivity growth in Belgium. It highlights that Belgium’s subdued productivity growth can be explained by a combination of sectoral employment shifts, barriers to competition, the declining quality of infrastructure, and an aging workforce. The shift of employment toward lower productivity service sectors, common to many advanced economies, has been more pronounced in Belgium and explains half of the productivity gap with neighboring countries. Population aging is another secular factor that has contributed to the productivity slowdown. In addition, barriers to competition in some service sectors have lowered productivity growth and raised rents in these sectors.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
Portugal’s economy is in deep recession, and the crisis has opened up a large output gap, with severe consequences for employment and government revenue. While the focus is on the medium- and long-term, this analysis also offers insights on how deep the output gap is. It also highlights ways in which policies and reforms can promote growth over the longer haul and suggests that achieving a 2-percent growth rate over the long term—consistent with moderate convergence growth—is a realistic objective.
International Monetary Fund
This paper studies the impact of the level and volatility of the commodity terms of trade on economic growth, as well as on the three main growth channels: total factor productivity, physical capital accumulation, and human capital acquisition. We use the standard system GMM approach as well as a cross-sectionally augmented version of the pooled mean group (CPMG) methodology of Pesaran et al. (1999) for estimation. The latter takes account of cross-country heterogeneity and cross-sectional dependence, while the former controls for biases associated with simultaneity and unobserved country-specific effects. Using both annual data for 1970-2007 and five-year non-overlapping observations, we find that while commodity terms of trade growth enhances real output per capita, volatility exerts a negative impact on economic growth operating mainly through lower accumulation of physical capital. Our results indicate that the negative growth effects of commodity terms of trade volatility offset the positive impact of commodity booms; and export diversification of primary commodity abundant countries contribute to faster growth. Therefore, we argue that volatility, rather than abundance per se, drives the "resource curse" paradox.
International Monetary Fund
The European Union’s (EU) financial stability framework is being markedly strengthened. This is taking place on the heels of a severe financial crisis owing to weaknesses in the banking system interrelated with sovereign difficulties in the euro area periphery. Important progress has been made in designing an institutional framework to secure microeconomic and macroprudential supervision at the EU level, but this new set-up faces a number of challenges. Developments regarding the financial stability may assist in the continuing evolution of the European financial stability architecture.
Mr. Thierry Tressel
This paper analyzes the impact of product and labor market policies on technological diffusion and multi-factor productivity (MFP) in a panel of industries in 15 OECD countries over the period 1980 to 2003, with a special focus on Australia. We use a simple convergence empirical framework to show that, on average, convergence of MFP within industries across countries has slowed-down in the 1990s. In contrast, Australian industries have significantly caught-up with industry productivity best practices over the past 16 years, and have benefited from the diffusion of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). We show that reforms of both the labor and product markets since the early 1990s can explain Australia's productivity performance and adoption of ICTs.
International Monetary Fund
This Selected Issues paper focuses on the fiscal challenge for Belgium in coping with population aging, including the sustainability of prevailing fiscal federalism arrangements across all levels of governments. The analysis demonstrates that the current strategy of upfront consolidation is likely to fall short of achieving sustainability. Further reductions in aging-related spending and growth and productivity-enhancing reforms beyond those assumed under the authorities’ strategy appear to be necessary. The paper also assesses whether the wage bargaining framework, a key labor market institution, is conducive to preserving external competitiveness and raising employment rates.