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The Best versusthe Rest: Divergence acrossFirms duringthe Global Productivity Slowdown


Dan Andrews | Australian Treasury
Chiara Criscuolo | OECD
Peter N. Gal | OECD

London : Centre for Economic Performance

ISSN: 2042-2695

96 pages
CEP Discussion Paper ( No 1645 )



We document that labor productivity of the globally most productive firms - the “frontier” - has diverged from all other firms - the “rest” - throughout the 2000s. This divergence remains after controlling for capital intensity and markups, and is strongest in ICT services, indicative of “winner-takes-all” dynamics. We also find weakening catch-up and market selection below the frontier, which can explain why this divergence at the firm level is linked to weaker aggregate productivity. The divergence is found to be stronger in industries where product market regulations are less competition friendly, highlighting the need for regulatory policy to improve the contestability of markets.


>> Introduction
>> 1.Data and Measurement
>> 2.Productivity Divergence between the Frontier and the Rest
>> 3.Potential Drivers and Aggregate Implications
>> 4.The Role of Regulatory Policy
>> 5.Conclusion


Appendix A: Firm-level Productivity Divergence: Robustness
Appendix B: Illustrative Simulations on Productivity Divergence
Appendix C: Assessing the Role of Catching-up
Appendix D: Aggregate Implications
Appendix E: The Evolution of Product Market Regulation
Appendix F: Data and Productivity Measurement