The authors provide an extensive review of the rapidly expanding research on productivity, both at the macro and micro levels. They focus primarily on papers written about Canada, but also draw on selected studies from other countries, especially the United States, where such work sheds important light on particular aspects of productivity growth. The authors […]
Dion examines the evolution of Canadian productivity since the mid-1990s, using the United States as a benchmark. During this period, trend productivity growth in Canada remained modest, whereas the U.S. witnessed a strong resurgence. Among the factors identified as potential root causes of Canada's lower productivity performance are a lower investment in information and communications technology, reallocation and adjustment costs associated with large relative price movements, and a weak demand for innovation.
An objective assessment of the effects of the appreciation of the Canadian dollar in 2003 and 2004 on exports and imports requires a detailed review of the numerous other factors which may have been at play. Dion, Laurence, and Zheng discuss the influences that have affected Canada's international trade over the past two years, including exchange rate movements, global and sector-specific shocks, constraints on the domestic supply of a few products, and competition from emerging economies, most notably, China. The analysis is complemented with econometric models developed at the Bank which provide statistically valid estimates of the contribution of the Canadian-dollar appreciation to the recent developments in exports and imports.
In the year and a half leading up to mid-2003, both employment and labour force participation increased at an unusually rapid pace compared to domestic economic activity. Gains in employment were unusually large, relative to output growth, compared to gains in total hours worked. This is explained by a faster rate of increase in the participation rate of the 55 and older age group, many of whom opted for part-time employment. This shift in the composition of employment contributed to a reduction in the length of the average workweek in 2002. As a result, labour input progressed at a rate that was markedly slower than for employment and more in line with its historical relationship to output growth.
The authors anticipate that the 55 and older age group will continue to participate strongly in the labour force, but that as the economy rebounds and uncertainty diminishes, the cyclical component in the growth of part-time work should diminish and that of full-time employment increase. Employment growth should moderate in relation to output growth and there may be a cyclical rebound in labour productivity as total hours worked increases during the initial recovery in output growth.
The author examines aspects of Canada's trade performance in light of the major trends seen in world trade over the past several decades. Canada has become more integrated with the world economy, and this openness is evident from its greater export orientation, its heavier reliance on imported inputs, and more exposure to foreign competition in its domestic markets. The author analyzes the composition of Canadian trade and the trend towards increasing two-way trade in similar products. He also looks at the increasing integration of trade within regions, which for Canada has meant a greater concentration of exports with the United States.