February 9, 2009

Does employment affect productivity?

We investigate the trade-off between employment and labour productivity in a panel of OECD countries in 1970-2003. The endogeneity of employment is shown to matter crucially for assessing its effect on productivity.

Estimating a structural model with 3SLS, where employment depends on demographic variables and labour market institutions, we find that employment tends to boost productivity. Literature ignoring the endogeneity of employment, including our own OLS results, incorrectly finds a negative or insignificant effect from employment on productivity. The productivity gain is, however, not a guaranteed by-product of additional employment, as regressions with rolling windows reveal.


Albert van der Horst
Hugo Rojas-Romagosa

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