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Comparative Economic Studies, 2009, 51, (421–446

)
r 2009 ACES. All rights reserved. 0888-7233/09

www.palgrave-journals.com/ces/

Symposium Paper

Total Factor Productivity Growth,
Structural Change and Convergence in the
New Members of the European Union
EL-HADJ M BAH1 & JOSEF C BRADA2,3
1

Department of Economics, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019 Auckland,
New Zealand.
2
Department of Economics, Arizona State University, Box 873806, Tempe, AZ,
852870-3806, USA.
3
Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Bul. Krste Misirkov 2, 1000 Skopje,
Republic of Macedonia.

We estimate total factor productivity (TFP) growth in agriculture, industry and
services in new European Union member countries and show how structural change
contributes to growth. Because of the difficulties in measuring the capital stock of
transition economies, we develop a model that estimates sectoral TFPs from data on
sectoral employment and GDP per capita. Compared to Austria, new EU members have
lower TFP levels, but their TFP growth is largely higher. Inter-sectoral movements of
labour do not play a large role in aggregate TFP growth, and capital accumulation is
an important component of convergence to EU levels of per capita GDP.
Comparative Economic Studies (2009) 51, 421–446. doi:10.1057/ces.2009.8;
published online 4 June 2009

Keywords: European Union, total factor productivity, structural change,
economic convergence, economic growth, capital accumulation, productivity
JEL Classifications: D24, E22, O11, O14, O41, O47

INTRODUCTION
A key task for the transition economies that have recently joined the
European Union (EU) is real convergence, the catching up with the per capita
income levels of the older and more developed members. Although some
observers have stressed that this process would require extensive investment

EM Bah & JC Brada
TFP Growth and Structural Change

422

in physical and human capital (Blanchard, 1997, Buiter, 2000), the growth
accounting literature suggests that these are not likely to be the decisive
forces leading to convergence. This literature, from Solow (1957) to Prescott
(1998) and Hall and Jones (1999), stresses that economic growth as well as
inter-county differences in per capita income are largely because of changes,
or differences, in total factor productivity, with the accumulation of physical
and human capital playing only a subsidiary role.1 The EU’s own experts
(European Union, 2006, p. 35) project that the new member countries’ per
capita incomes will grow at about 4% per annum while those of the older and
richer members will grow at 2%, leading to a convergence of per capita
incomes in 2040. Moreover, the same estimates assume that over 50% of the
growth in per capita incomes in both old and new members will be the result
of total factor productivity growth rather than of factor accumulation,
although, of course, total factor productivity (TFP) growth in the new member
countries would thus be about twice as fast as in the old member countries.
The ability of the new EU members to generate and sustain significant
gains in TFP should not be taken for granted. The USSR and the countries of
East Europe saw gains in TFP came to a virtual halt in the early 1980s, if not
before then, a situation unprecedented among countries at such a level of
development. The first to note the slowdown in TFP growth in the USSR was
Kaplan (1968) who showed that, for any plausible parameter values of a
Cobb-Douglas production function, Soviet TFP growth was falling towards
zero.2 The results of similar research for East Europe by researchers in both
the West and in the communist countries themselves came to more or less
that same conclusion, namely that, by the start of the 1980s, the only sources
1
For example, Hall and Jones deconstruct the ‘the 35-fold difference in output per worker
between the United States and Niger. Different capital intensities in the two countries contributed a
factor of 1.5 to the income differences, while different levels of educational attainment contributed a
factor of 3.1. The remaining difference – a factor of 7.7 – remains as the productivity residual’ (Hall
and Jones, 1999, p. 83). Prescott (1998) reaches a similar conclusion without assuming a specific
form of the production function. See also, Klenow and Rodriguez-Clare (1997), Hendricks (2002),
Parente and Prescott (1994,2000) and Caselli (2005).
2
The literature on the decline in Soviet productivity growth took a unique direction because of
Weitzman (1970), who attributed the output slowdown to a low elasticity of substitution between
capital and labour, a finding that, of course, improved estimated TFP growth given the slow growth
of the labour force and the rapid growth of the capital stock in the communist countries. Easterly
and Fisher (1995) continued this insistence on the low elasticity of substitution explanation for
Soviet growth retardation, but, in the face of the critique of their empirical work by Beare (2008),
they were forced to accept the conclusion that ‘the rate of technical progress declined over the
course of the history of the former Soviet Union’ (Easterly and Fisher, 2008, p. 147). Efforts to find
similarly low elasticities of substitution between capital and labour in East Europe during the
socialist era were generally not successful (see Brada, 1985) and evidence for the more recent period
seems to confirm the general usefulness of the Cobb-Douglas specification (Gollin, 2002).

Comparative Economic Studies

institutions or economic systems. such as Hall and Jones (1999) and Frankel and Romer (1999) suggest that rather immutable factors such a legal origins. Prescott (1998) and Parente and Prescott (2000) argue that TFP growth and levels are inversely related to the ability of incumbent workers to prevent the adoption new technologies. work rules and ways of organising production in order to protect the rents that they can earn using older technologies or ways of organising their work. the transition economies.3 It is possible that the forces that retarded TFP growth so severely during the late communist era have not been entirely eliminated by the process of transition. At the start of the Soviet experiment. but short-lived. the pattern of TFP growth can thus be understood in terms of David Granick’s (1989) description of the Soviet economy as a ‘job-rights economy’ in which workers had an explicit right to a particular job at a particular location. their pace. Finally. may have been the beneficiaries of what we may call temporary Prescott–Granick effects that led to rapid. unskilled workers were brought into factories from 3 See Brada (1989) for estimates of TFP and Ofer (1987) for a survey of the literature on this topic. including Prescott (1998). while others. Thus. whose effects will soon wear off. If the sources of TFP growth cannot be greatly influenced by short-term changes in policies. may be much slower than it was in the past decade. but the new EU members have already undertaken many of the reforms needed to create functioning market economies and to meet the institutional and legal standards of EU membership. which means that sustained rapid TFP growth in the East European countries would be difficult if not impossible. 4 The literature on the causes of TFP differentials is quite unsettled in this respect.EM Bah & JC Brada TFP Growth and Structural Change 423 of growth in East Europe were increases in capital and hours worked. and thus that of TFP growth.4 Alternatively. then the recent upsurge in TFP growth in the new EU members’ countries could be because of temporary factors. gains in TFP. including the new EU members. but the new EU member countries have already undertaken as much opening up to international trade and investment as is likely to be feasible and further rapid growth of trade to GDP ratios does not seem likely. a scenario developed in some detail by Van Ark (1999). if TFP does respond quickly to changes in policies. In contrast to Hall and Jones. Frankel and Romer (1999) stress the role of openness to trade as the driver of TFP. while some institutional improvements may still be possible. Hall and Jones (1999) attribute high TFP levels to better institutions. institutions and economic system. then the transition economies would be consigned to being second-class members of the EU for a long time. Comparative Economic Studies . with TFP growth non-existent or negative. geography and so on are important determinants of TFP levels. take the view that a country’s TFP levels are subject to rather rapid change because of institutional and policy changes. Some authors. In the case of the transition economies.

these countries entered the transition. 2006). in the Prescott– Grancik view. and the rents earned by the old industrial elite of the work force disappeared. In the course of the transition. 1976). they had no rents to preserve and no understanding of their job rights. In either case. Thus. As these economies turned to the market to allocate resources. thereby sharply reducing TFP growth. structural change is more rapid in the new EU member countries so it remains Comparative Economic Studies . Consequently. Because the work-place inflexibilities that the Prescott–Granick view considers important barriers to TFP growth are alleged to be the cause of slow productivity growth in the older EU member countries. with employment shares in industry and agriculture that were much larger than those found in market economies at similar levels of development and with service sectors that had much lower shares of employment than were to be found in comparable market economies (Gregory. new technology and ways of fully exploiting its productivity-enhancing characteristics could only be introduced into newly built and staffed factories but not into existing ones. the service sector expanded dramatically while agriculture and industry lost employment share (European Union. and EU membership. 1970. and they thus had both the ability and the incentives to block the efficient introduction of new technologies and ways of working. These disparities in employment carried over to the shares of these sectors in aggregate output as well.EM Bah & JC Brada TFP Growth and Structural Change 424 agriculture. these job rights disappeared because open unemployment reduced workers’ bargaining power and because socialist-era laws providing these job rights were swept away. the future pace of TFP growth in the new EU member countries is both uncertain and of great importance to their future well being. A second and related aspect of real convergence is structural convergence. fears that they will also spread to the new members are not unfounded. Whether this structural difference is a legacy of communist policies or whether it simply reflects the fact that structural change in favour of services at the expense of agriculture and industry occurs with rising per capita incomes in nearly all market economies is unclear. Ofer. Thus. As a result. As workers gained tenure at their places of work. although all of these economies continue to exhibit higher labour shares in agriculture and industry and lower shares in services than are to be found in the older EU member counties. the current accelerated pace of TFP growth in the new EU member countries will continue only so long as workers continue to be unorganised and unable to exert pressure to slow changes in work rules and the fully effective introduction of new technologies. they were also increasingly able to earn rents from operating the existing technology. The communist regimes in East Europe had followed a development strategy that favoured industry and agriculture at the expense of services.

on the communist-era openness of the country. for example.8 Comparative Economic Studies . and Fo¨ldva´ri and Van Leeuwen (2009) claim that human capital accumulation had a positive effect on Hungarian GDP growth in the 1990s. 6 See McKinsey Report (1999). Moreover. but similar. estimates. If we measure human capital by years of schooling. we refer the reader to the sources cited in Footnote 1 for compelling arguments why human capital accumulation is not likely to be a key driver of TFP growth. inter-country differences in human capital are consequently reflected in differences in TFP. much of the communist-era capital stock (Campos and Coricelli. For example. or retardant of. inter alia. or accelerated the depreciation of. but in reality we face a fundamental problem in estimating the stock of capital. 7 A referee suggested that there was also destruction of communist-era human capital and that the value of East European human capital as measured by years of schooling may have been overstated. 2002). the amount destroyed in each country should depend. Deliktas and Balcilar (2005) estimate that up to 50% of the communist-era capital stock was destroyed in the early transition. Part of the destruction was physical. we ignore any explicit accounting for human capital. Thus. Izumov and Vahaly (2006. part of the capital stock. and. 2008) provide a survey of the issues and the literature on the transition-era capital stock as well as a methodologically consistent set of estimates of the ‘adjusted’ capital stocks of the Russian and former CIS economies. Steffen and Stephan (2008) attribute much of the productivity differential between East and West to a human capital deficit. meaning that the huge changes in the structure of demand and the wholesale acquisition of new and more productive technologies from the West that occurred in the course of transition devalued. In this paper. given the logic of the argument for the destruction of capital.5 In principle. Nevertheless. factories were abandoned and equipment was scrapped or thrown away. it should be possible to undertake growth accounting exercises for the transition economies at the sectoral level. and on the degree of its integration into the CMEA or Soviet economy. aggregate TFP growth. in our results.7 5 Stephan (2002) investigates the extent to which structural differences between the old and new EU members lead to differences in per capita incomes. but his analysis focuses on labour productivity differences rather than on differences in TFP. the gaps between official and adjusted estimates of the capital stock and their implications for TFP estimates shown by these studies are instructive. While we do not examine these economies in our paper.EM Bah & JC Brada TFP Growth and Structural Change 425 to be seen whether this faster and ongoing shift of resources between sectors is an important contributor to.6 The various estimates of the excess destruction of capital stock differ in their magnitude as well as in the methodologies utilised to estimate the losses and in the assumptions driving the estimates. which had 12. Kushnirsky (2001) and Darvas and Simon (2000) for other. Studies of this phenomenon have produced estimates of surprisingly large declines in Russian and East European capital stock over the course of the transition. then the transition economies are only mildly behind the United States. but unknown. on its industrial structure. thus measuring TFP levels and their evolution over time. The transition from socialism to capitalism effectively destroyed a large. Another part of the destruction was what might be called ‘moral’.

A similar data limitation for developing countries has led researchers to develop indirect methods for estimating sectoral TFPs by making use of cross-section prices in a multi-sector growth model similar to the one we use to infer sectoral relative TFPs. 10 The decomposition of the economy into three sectors. 8 Using a different methodology. services and industry. characterises the competitive equilibrium and calibrates the model to the US economy.EM Bah & JC Brada TFP Growth and Structural Change 426 Needless to say. With a few exceptions. 2008a). Burda and Severgnini (2008b). and the emphasis on the growth effects of reallocating labor and capital among these sectors also links our model to the work of Dowrick (1989) and Dowrick and Nguyen (1989) on growth in OECD countries.9 In this paper we use a three-sector model developed by Bah (2008) to infer sectoral TFP time series for the new EU members. also choose to estimate aggregate TFP in the transition economies without recourse to official capital stock data. Section ‘A three-sector model of structural transformation’ describes the model. Absent plausible official estimates of sectoral and even aggregate capital stocks and the wide divergence in the unofficial estimates. while Poland. Section ‘Estimates of sectoral TFP in Austria and transition economics’ applies the model to Austria and to a sample of transition countries to demonstrate differences in sectoral TFP levels and their change relative to Austria.10 The rest of the paper is organised as follows. an EU member with a per capita output close to the (old member) EU average and with some similarities in size and location to a number of the transition economies.0 years in 2001.8 Effectively. as well as the lack of sectoral capital stock data. we propose to measure sectoral TFPs without recourse to capital stock data. had 12. for example. agriculture. and the Czech Republic 10. wide divergences in these unofficial estimates of the capital stock lead to wide divergences in estimates of TFP growth and levels in the course of transition (Burda and Severgnini. This kind of model also has been used by Rogerson (2008) to analyse labour market outcomes in Europe. our approach substitutes readily available data on sectoral employment and aggregate GDP. the constraints on the interrelations between macroeconomic variables derived from a widely used model of economic growth and structural change. 9 See Herrendorf and Valentinyi (2006) and Hsieh and Klenow (2007).4 in 2001. in all sectors Austrian TFP exceeds that of years of schooling in 2000. Comparative Economic Studies . They show that attempting to construct capital stock data using perpetual inventory methods leads to highly unreliable estimates of both stocks and TFP. and model parameters obtained through calibration for generally unreliable or unavailable data on sectoral capital stocks in the transition economies. This substitution of easily obtainable data and a model and parameters that have proven their value in other applications seems to us to be a useful way to approach the questions that lie at the heart of this paper.

As income rises. and it is also endowed with initial capital stock at time 0 and the total land for the economy which we normalise to 1. preferences are non-homothetic. we present a model developed by Bah (2008). The model thus generates a process of structural transformation that was first described by Kuznets (1966). Because the household produces just enough of the agricultural good for subsistence. some of them are found to rely heavily on input growth rather than TFP improvements for their GDP growth. The key features that drive labour reallocation across sectors are as follows. The instantaneous utility is given by:  UðFt . the household shifts its demand from agricultural goods to industrial goods and services. In each period the household is endowed with one unit of time. The household supplies labour inelastically to the three sectors. Second. The model is a closed economy growth model with three sectors: agriculture. At Þ ¼ At if  if logðFt Þ þ A  At oA  At  A ð1Þ where At is the agricultural good and Ft is a composite consumption good defined as a CES aggregate of the industrial good (Mt) and the services (St). and we normalise its size to 1 for simplicity. The last section draws out some policy implications of our findings. but there are important sectoral differences in TFP between the new EU member countries and Austria. A THREE-SECTOR MODEL OF STRUCTURAL TRANSFORMATION Below. the elasticity of substitution between manufacturing and services and the TFP growth differential determine labour reallocation between those two sectors. First.EM Bah & JC Brada TFP Growth and Structural Change 427 the new member countries. not all members’ TFPs are progressing in all sectors in a way that promotes catch-up with Austrian per capita income. Although structural change does not appear to be a serious barrier to growth in the new EU member countries. The model Preferences and endowments There is a representative household who lives forever.  e1 e e1 e1 Ft ¼ lMt e þ ð1  lÞSt e ð2Þ Comparative Economic Studies . resources are shifted away from that sector as its productivity rises. Moreover. industry and services.

in Table 4 we present only the predicted values of agriculture’s share because the actual values are the same. Thus. the beginning and starting values of agriculture’s share of employment predicted by the model are by construction the same as the actual values. The inputs for agriculture are labour (N) and land (L) while industry and services use labour and capital.EM Bah & JC Brada TFP Growth and Structural Change 428 Lifetime utility is given by: 1 X bt UðFt . At Þ ð3Þ t¼0 where b is the discount factor. Moreover. The industry sector resource constraint is: y 1y Nmt Mt þ Xt ¼ Amt Kmt ð6Þ Amt ¼ Am ð1 þ gmt Þt ð7Þ where The law of motion of the aggregate capital stock (Kt) in the economy is given by Ktþ1 ¼ ð1  dÞKt þ Xt ð8Þ where d is the depreciation rate. The agricultural good is only used for consumption so the resource constraint is given by: a 1a At ¼ Aat Nat Lt ð4Þ Aat ¼ Aa ð1 þ gat Þt ð5Þ where The TFP parameters Aa. This specification of preferences implies that the economy specialises in ¯ is reached. Comparative Economic Studies . 11 Because of the way in which Aat is calculated. although the interim values are not. will never produce more of the agricultural good than A Technologies All three sectors use Cobb-Douglas production functions. the economy agriculture until the subsistence level A ¯. gat are assumed to be country specific.11 The industrial sector’s output is used for consumption (Mt) in the composite good and investment (Xt).

Equilibrium Given that there are no distortions in this economy. the TFP parameters (Am. Therefore. We may expect that a country’s institutions and policies affect the productivity in each of these economic sectors. Labour in agriculture is given by:   1a A Nat ¼ ð11Þ Aat Let Nt ¼ 1Nat be the total time that can be allocated between the industry and service sectors. and we will solve for the competitive equilibrium from this point on. the quantity of labour used in the service sector is given by: Nst ¼  y Amt NKtt Ct  l e  Ast 1e 1 þ 1l Amt ð13Þ Comparative Economic Studies . As and gst) are also assumed to be country specific. We sketch the solution of the model and refer the reader to Bah (2008) for the details.EM Bah & JC Brada TFP Growth and Structural Change 429 The output of the service sector is only used for consumption through the composite good. the competitive equilibrium allocations can be obtained by solving a social planner’s problem. gmt . This corresponds to the start of structural transformation. the service sector resource constraint is given by St ¼ Ast Ksty Nst1y ð9Þ Ast ¼ As ð1 þ gst Þt ð10Þ where In the equations above. t  the economy begins the production of industrial goods and Aa ð1 þ gat Þ  A. The aggregate capital stock is given by the following dynamic equation: "  y  y1 # Kt Kt Ktþ1 ¼Amt Nt þ ð1  dÞKt  b 1  d þ yAmt Nt Nt " # ð12Þ  y Kt1 Amt1 Nt1 þ ð1  dÞKt1  Kt Nt1 Once capital is known. The economy  Once specialises in the production of agriculture as long as Aa ð1 þ ga Þt oA. we present the key equations that determine the equilibrium allocations from the social planner’s problem. services. Below.

Comparative Economic Studies . Because we will implicitly test the appropriateness of the US-derived parameters for our sample of countries later in the paper. These two parameters determine the labour reallocation between the industrial and service sectors. The last two parameters to calibrate are the elasticity of substitution between the industrial good and services (e) and the weight of the industrial good in the production of the composite good (l). average growth rate of the price of the service good relative to the industrial good. but we do note that we are able to replicate the time paths of sectoral employment and per capita income in all these countries using the US-based parameters. we ask the reader to defer concerns about the validity of the United States as a benchmark. gs)the discount rate b and d are jointly calibrated to match four averages in the data from 1950 to 2000: average growth rate of GDP per capita. We assume that the growth rate varies each decade starting in 1950. A compelling reason for using the United States for the calibration exercise is the longer and more stable time series on variables needed for calibration. The growth rate of agricultural TFP (gat) is chosen such that the model matches the agricultural shares of hours worked in the United States. The data sources are explained in Appendix. Following the literature.3. Table 1 summarises the calibrated parameter values. The TFP growth rates for industry and services (gm. see Bah (2008). the subsistence level can be easily computed using the shares of hours in agriculture. m. Given that the agricultural TFP is normalised to 1 in 1950. Calibration to the US Economy The model is calibrated to match the US economy from 1950 to 2000. average investment-tooutput ratio and average capital-to-output ratio. 12 For details. The productivity levels Ai(i ¼ a. labour’s share in agriculture (a) is set to 0.12 There are 13 parameters to calibrate. The agricultural subsistence level is equal to the agricultural production in every period after the start of structural transformation. We choose values of e and l to minimise the quadratic norm of the difference between the predicted and actual industrial employment shares from 1950 to 2000.EM Bah & JC Brada TFP Growth and Structural Change 430 where Ct is the non-agriculture aggregate expenditure and is given by  y Kt Ct ¼ Amt Nt þ ð1  dÞKt  Ktþ1 Nt ð14Þ The other equilibrium allocations can be easily derived. This corresponds to choosing units. s) are normalised to 1 in 1950. Whether the United States is the most appropriate country for deriving parameters for our sample of countries cannot be answered in any definitive way.7 and capital’s share in industry and services (y) is set to 0.

Hungary. is now an EU member.30 0. and. which would somewhat close the gap between their per capita incomes and that of Austria. Latvia. The transition economies have gained appreciably in their standing vis a vis the EU 15 average.019 0. the Czech Republic. 14 The new member countries may have larger informal sectors.7 0. and thus we dropped that country from our analysis even though it. Lithuania. has a non-trivial informal sector as well. We use the model to find sectoral TFP series such that. our analysis covers only the period 1995–2005.05 0. although the gains differ considerably across countries. In the application of the calibrated model to Austria and the transition countries. Austria’s per capita income in 1997 and 2005 exceeded that of the transition countries by a palpable amount. Estonia.009 0. Comparative Economic Studies . as we shall see. we assume all the parameters are the same across countries except the series for sectoral TFP. Although our model is one of sectoral change. Moreover. we can best replicate the paths of 13 The sectoral employment shares for Romania proved somewhat problematic.13 Because of unavailability of consistent data on hours worked by sector.24 0.975 0. but its position relative to other ‘old’ EU members changed very little between 1995 and 2005.14 Austria is also slightly above the average per capita GDP of the old EU member countries. official estimates of GDP in some of these countries adjust for the informal sector. in any event.EM Bah & JC Brada TFP Growth and Structural Change 431 Table 1: Calibrated Parameters Parameter Aa Am As A¯ a b d e gm gs l y Value 1 1 1 0.02 0. the Slovak Republic and Slovenia. the sectoral changes in employment in the transition economies were quite significant even over this shorter period. within the framework of the model. Austria. We use Austria as a standard for comparison because in terms of population and land area it falls within the range of the transition economies in our sample.3 ESTIMATES OF SECTORAL TFP IN AUSTRIA AND SELECTED TRANSITION ECONOMIES We use the parameters derived from our calibration exercise and data on sectoral labour shares and GDP per capita to estimate the sectoral TFPs for Austria and for nine transition economies: Bulgaria. that have joined the EU. and it also is close geographically to a number of them. Poland. it can be seen as a typical old EU member country in terms of its per capita income (Table 2). too. which is a longterm phenomenon. However.

4 in 2005.8 51.1 in 1995 and close to 2.EM Bah & JC Brada TFP Growth and Structural Change 432 Table 2: Per Capita Incomes as Percentage of EU-15 Average Country 1997 2005 Austria Czech Republic Estonia Latvia Lithuania Hungary Poland Slovak Republic Slovenia 112. the model fits the actual GDP per capita and sectoral employment shares of the transition countries as well.3 67. Comparative Economic Studies .2 46.1 47. for any other country. We calculate the agricultural TFPs in 1995. Moreover.1 42.1 75. If the model could not match the sample countries’ dynamics. The simulated and actual data for GDP per capita are close to each other as are the sectoral employment shares reported in Panel 2. Because of space constraints we do not provide analogous Figures for the transition countries but summarize the results in tabular form.0 Source: EU (2006) GDP per capita and the sectoral employment shares. For the TFP series in industry and services and the initial capital stock. 2000 and 2005 and then assume constant growth between those dates.15 The shares of agriculture and industry in employment have fallen while services employment’s share has increased.8 33. sectoral employment and sectoral TFP.3 45. Agriculture and services TFPs in Austria in 15 That the model is able to match Austrian sectoral employment and per capita GDP over the sample period is a strong. These Figures are available from the authors.5 113. structural change in Austria has been relatively slow over the period analysed.9 35. we use the fact the subsistence level is assumed to be the same in every country.0 29.9 61. Therefore.1 57.3 64. it would mean that the parameters obtained from the US-based parameterization were inapplicable. with 1995 normalised to one. but not absolute. we match GDP per capita relative to the United States in 1995. Sectoral TFP in Austria Figure 1 shows the results of our simulation of Austrian per capita GDP growth. The first panel shows per capita GDP. Overall.5 40. For agricultural TFP.0 50. verification of the validity of the US-based parameters for Austria. we can use the US employment shares and calculated agricultural TFP to deduce that country’s agricultural TFP.7 43. the average GDP per capita growth and labour reallocation from industry between 1995 and 2005. The last panel in Figure 1 shows that Austrian total factor productivity in industry relative to US industrial TFP in 1950 was around 2.

While Austrian industry’s TFP relative to the 1950 US level is higher than the ratio of Austria’s agricultural TFP to the US level. employment shares and sectoral TFP for Austria. we can. The ratios of Austrian TFPs to US TFPs should not be taken as indications of the relative productivity in the three sectors of the Austrian economy. In the case of Austria. By observing the growth rates of TFP in the three sectors. Thus.4 and 1. the movement of resources from agriculture and industry to services can be seen as a drag on growth in the sense that resources were moved from sectors with high rates of productivity growth to Comparative Economic Studies . Austria’s greater gains in industrial TFP vis a vis the United States may not have offset the 1950 advantage of US agricultural TFP over US industry’s TFP. in 1950. As a result we are not able to infer from Figure 1 whether the expansion of one of Austria’s three sectors at the expense of the other two tends to raise or lower aggregate TFP growth. determine whether such inter-sectoral shifts in resources promote aggregate TFP growth by moving more resources into sectors that enjoy faster TFP growth over time. TFP in US agriculture was higher than was TFP in industry.EM Bah & JC Brada TFP Growth and Structural Change 433 Figure 1: Actual and model predictions of per capita GDP. many studies of US productivity suggest that. however. 1995 were between 1.5 times the corresponding 1950 level in the United States. but TFP growth in the Austrian services sector was very slow. TFP growth in Austrian industry and agriculture was relatively high.

All the transition countries underwent a similar change in structure that involved the movement of labour out of agriculture and industry and into services. the pace of structural change is faster in the transition countries than it is in Austria. at the end of our period of observation. Table 3 shows that the model was able to generate GDP per capita growth rates that closely reflect actual GDP per capita growth in the transition countries.16 Given the slow pace of labour reallocation in Austria. 17 A number of countries show a small reversal in that. looking at the current sectoral distribution of labour. We thus note that the model is able to generate both per capita GDP growth rates and changes in sectoral employment that closely approximate the actual changes experienced by these countries. This. structural change in the new EU members mirrors that taking place in the old EU members. would apply to the new members and to Austria as well. Table 4 shows the sectoral employment shares projected by the model for the transition economies as well as their actual employment shares. of course. There are significant differences among the nine transition economies in terms of the TFPs of their sectors relative to 1950 United States sectoral TFP levels. suggests the validity of our parameterisation on the basis of US data. This may be related to large inflows of FDI and the emergence of East Europe as a sourcing point for manufactured goods exports to the EU.EM Bah & JC Brada TFP Growth and Structural Change 434 one with low TFP growth. Table 5 ranks the sectors of the new EU member countries relative to 16 A referee noted that the low growth of productivity in services may be an artifact of problems in measuring the output of services and that the services sector may be a catalyst for productivity growth in the other two sectors. Next we provide an international comparison of sectoral TFPs to investigate whether the aggregate TFP lag implied by the transition economies’ lower per capita GDP is because of lower TFPs in all sectors of the economy or whether their lower aggregate TFPs are the result of particularly poor productivity in particular sectors of their economies. We first briefly discuss cross-country similarities and differences in the results and then discuss how sectoral TFP levels and trends influence the convergence of the transition economies to EU levels of per capita GDP. Comparative Economic Studies . This. even if. the effect on aggregate growth is likely to be negligible. On the other hand. industry slightly gains labor share at the expense of services.17 In this sense. Sectoral TFP in transition economies In Tables 3 and 4 we summarise the simulation results for the transition economies over the period 1995–2005. the new members lag behind the older ones by having higher shares of employment in agriculture and industry and a lower share of services employment. like the close tracking of Austrian growth and structural change.

71 116.37 10.15 48. such high rankings are not surprising.87 51.62 26.73 116.88 28.81 54.46 Note: The numbers are in percent.84 56.35 58.77 9.59 51.77 41.48 33.87 24.51 20.39 53. Services is never the best sector relative to US 1950 TFP.36 46.26 57.31 41.71 38.26 28.16 8.89 57. For a sector that produces tradables and thus faces international competition. US 1950 levels.93 32.00 36.00 57.58 34.68 30.99 48.68 57.95 61.16 26.52 66.64 8.34 28.56 50.98 48.34 45. The rankings for the service sector are also quite consistent.19 5.27 29.61 27.55 40.10 57.96 47. and most often it is the sector that lags all others relative to US TFP.14 42.58 48.40 4. The long pre-transition neglect of services.79 33.58 61.13 26.66 88.68 39. The situation of industry is least ambiguous. although not for other years in the simulation.32 62.28 4.07 44.58 56.31 28.91 30.42 33.33 52.48 21.36 54. but poor.57 33.22 49.69 27. the clear Comparative Economic Studies .32 27.01 52.89 56.25 25. Table 4: Actual and Predicted Sectoral Shares in Employment Predicted by the Model Austria Bulgaria Czech Rep Estonia Hungary Latvia Lithuania Poland Slovak Rep Slovenia Actual Data Agriculture Industry Services Industry Services 1995 2005 1995 2005 1995 2005 1995 2005 1995 2005 7.40 36.01 27.59 89.41 33.71 49.90 64.83 32.00 5.46 107.84 30.74 41.03 33.38 19.01 54.44 106.04 61.07 56.87 61.15 38. it ranks as best or second best vis a vis the United States in all transition countries.69 45.64 33.81 27. and it is never the last sector in rank.59 34.71 17.73 4.08 23.49 11.75 48.17 Note: Actual and predicted labor shares for agriculture are the same for the beginning and ending year.12 57.EM Bah & JC Brada TFP Growth and Structural Change 435 Table 3: Actual and Predicted per capita GDP Growth 1995–2005 Country Model Actual Austria Bulgaria Czech Republic Estonia Hungary Latvia Lithuania Poland Slovak Republic Slovenia 19.96 12. a sector receiving large amounts of FDI.32 23.31 61.67 39.13 60.44 14.78 51.42 60.41 39.52 38.95 57.84 31.59 45. and a sector where technology transfer by multinational firms is routine and relatively easy.56 45.04 41.53 40.02 52.14 6.15 27.

the poor productivity performance of services. In some countries it comes closest to US TFP levels. either by moving labour from low to high TFP sectors or vice versa has an important impact on aggregate growth.EM Bah & JC Brada TFP Growth and Structural Change 436 Table 5: Rankings of Sectoral TFPs Relative to the US -1950 Country Sector Ranking Bulgaria Czech Republic Estonia Hungary Latvia Lithuania Poland Slovak Republic Slovenia Industry>Services>Agriculture Agriculture>Industry>Services Agriculture>Industry>Services Agriculture>Industry>Services Industry>Agriculture>Services Industry>Services>Agriculture Industry>Services>Agriculture Agriculture>Industry>Services Industry>Services>Agriculture shortages that existed in the provision of retail and other such ‘low productivity’ services after the fall of communism and the subsequent rapid expansion of those sectors. instead of using the corresponding labour shares from the model. Comparative Economic Studies . but in other counties it shows the biggest gap. To determine whether structural change. We note that the process of structural change is a key feature accompanying development. in the model. A weak internationalisation of the services sector may also be a factor. This question is motivated by the fact that in all of our countries labour moves among sectors at a faster pace than it does in the old EU member countries. the sector that shows the greatest employment gains. to the effectiveness of land distribution and reform and so on.18 Table 6 summarises the loss 18 It is important to note that. to the dissolution of collective agriculture. should be a policy concern for transition-economy governments. and slowness in developing a modern services sector help to account for this poor productivity picture. labour reallocation across sectors results from differences in sectoral TFP growth rates and the preference specifications. we use the model to compute GDP per capita using the capital stock and TFP series estimated in the foregoing section. The relative position of agriculture is the most variable of the three sectors. However. Clearly. This may reflect cross-country differences in the productivity of the agrarian sector because of variations in the effectiveness and extent of agricultural reforms. we use the sectoral employment shares given by the data for 1995. Structural change and aggregate TFP growth In this subsection we estimate the loss in GDP that results from the structural transformation process.

One transition economy. Figure 2 shows the agricultural TFPs of the transition economies relative to Austria’s agricultural TFP.44 3. This means that annual growth of per capita GDP was around a half a percent slower than it would have been with no structural change.74 4.28 0.55 2.55% of 1995 per capita GDP less that it would have been with no structural change. Czech TFP in agriculture was nearly 20% higher than Austria’s.16 of GDP per capita growth from 1995. The largest loss in potential per capita GDP was in Lithuania. which is normalised to one in each year. 1995–2005. However.EM Bah & JC Brada TFP Growth and Structural Change 437 Table 6: Loss of GDP Per Capita Due to Structural Transformation (as a percnt of 1995 GDP Per Capita) Country Austria Bulgaria Czech Republic Estonia Hungary Latvia Lithuania Poland Slovak Republic Slovenia Percentage Loss 1. whose per capita GDP in 2005 was 6. has higher TFP in agriculture than does Austria for the entire sample period and its agricultural TFP also grew faster than did Austria’s. To the extent that some transition economies’ sectors lag behind in TFP growth. we can conclude that past and future structural change. even when judged against the almost doubling of per capita GDP between 1995 and 2005. while the two countries share a similar continental Comparative Economic Studies . their other sectors will have to achieve even faster TFP growth to assure convergence. has a relatively minor impact on the new EU members’ ability to catch up with the older EU countries in terms of per capita GDP.83 2. This is not a trivial amount. even at the accelerated pace seen in the transition economies over the past decade. but for the other countries the effect of structural change on growth is negligible.95 2. Sectoral TFP in comparative perspective Our results show that aggregate TFPs have risen in all of the transition economies over the sample period. Consequently.31 4. As a result. This is not a surprising result because. by the end of our sample period.29 3. per capita GDP convergence between the transition economies and the older EU member countries will require the sectoral TFPs of the transition economies to grow closer to the levels of the old member countries.47 6. the Czech Republic.

Hungary and Estonia also show rapid convergence to Austrian TFP levels. These four countries’ agrarian sectors thus already operate at productivity levels that are comparable to that of an old EU member with an above (old EU) average per capita income. This suggests that concerns that CAP funding would be required to support relatively inefficient agrarian sectors in these countries are exaggerated. Latvia and Lithuania have TFP about one half of Austria’s and they made only modest progress in closing this productivity gap between 1995 and 2005. For Poland. its many small and inefficient private farms are a likely source of that country’s poor agricultural TFP showing. with the former two countries surpassing Austria by the end of the sample period and Estonia’s TFP is nearly equal to that of Austria. Comparative Economic Studies . and both have TFPs in agriculture that are less than one-half of Austria’s. climate and grow similar crops using similar technologies. Poland and Bulgaria fell farther behind Austria. Three other transition economies. In these countries. the Czech Republic has experienced a drastic dismantling of socialist-era collectives and the outflow of part-time and low-productivity labour from agriculture. the Slovak Republic. the quality of Czech land is higher because of a more favourable topography. Slovenia started the period with TFP in agriculture at about three-fourths of Austria’s. Moreover. lagging agrarian productivity may require additional structural support from the EU if the CAP is not to be burdened with inefficient farm sectors.EM Bah & JC Brada TFP Growth and Structural Change 438 Figure 2: Agricultural TFP Relative to Austria. but its TFP growth failed to match Austria’s over the sample period so that the TFP gap between the two countries widened. For the other transition economies the picture is less favourable. The two Baltic Republics.

Lithuania and Hungary showed large gains in TFP over the sample period. investment rates have not differed much. but failed to keep up with TFP growth in Austria over the sample period. while staring at relatively low TFP levels. and general reform measures have been quite similar as well.19 Because industry continues to be a major part of the new members’ economies. The TFPs for services are reported in Figure 4. The Slovak Republic and Bulgaria had TFPs in industry that were about one-half of Austria’s. Figure 3 provides similar comparisons of the transition countries’ TFPs in industry to that of Austria. Latvia. Poland experienced a more gradual convergence to Austria’s TFP levels. but closing the gap only very slowly. while the Czech Republic and Slovenia had relatively high levels of TFP. The first is that TFP in agriculture is not a major barrier to catch-up for many new 19 The divergence in industrial TFP performance in the transition economies is somewhat surprising. None of the transition economies matches Austria’s services TFP although Slovenia. In contrast. None of the transition economies has an industrial TFP that matches that of Austria. the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic are near. Poland and Bulgaria had low TFPs and failed to make much headway in catching up with the other economies. All received massive inflows of FDI.EM Bah & JC Brada TFP Growth and Structural Change 439 Figure 3: Industrial TFP Relative to Austria. poor performance vis a vis Austria is a significant hindrance to catch-up. Estonia. all made significant improvements in service sector TFP over the sample period. Comparative Economic Studies . The three Baltic Republics and Hungary. This analysis of relative TFP performance yields several conclusions. Nevertheless. four transition countries. ending the period with TFPs that are from two-thirds to threefourths of Austria’s.

Second. Sources of economic growth in new EU member countries So far. Moreover. have significant problems in achieving acceptable rates of TFP growth in industry and services. and that they differ considerably among themselves with respect to which of their sectors’ TFP levels are closest to those of Austria and which are contributing the most to aggregate TFP growth.EM Bah & JC Brada TFP Growth and Structural Change 440 Figure 4: Service TFP Relative to Austria. this poor performance is a real barrier to these countries’ efforts to catch up to the average EU per capita income. members because they already have achieved relatively high productivity levels. In this section we return to the question of aggregate TFP growth and catch-up for the new EU member countries. are making good progress in raising TFP levels in both industry and services. In the introduction. We therefore use Equation 12 to compute the aggregate capital stock for our sample of transition economies. such as the Baltic States and Hungary. given the growing share of these sectors in aggregate output. agriculture plays a diminishing role in aggregate economic activity. some of the transition economies. some countries. and these countries thus should also experience high aggregate TFP growth that will facilitate their convergence to EU living standards. If there were a major reduction in the starting capital stock of transition economies for the reasons discussed at the Comparative Economic Studies . we have shown that the new EU member countries have not had their growth severely hampered by structural change. and. such as Bulgaria. Conversely. we noted that the greatest obstacle to measuring aggregate TFP growth in the transition countries lies in estimating the capital stock.

Moreover. All the transition economies experienced faster capital stock growth than did Austria. Comparative Economic Studies . with the Baltic Republics noteworthy for the rapid growth of their capital stocks. the capital stock and TFP (except in the Czech Republic) grew more rapidly in the new member states than they did in Austria over our sample period. while in Latvia and Lithuania. GDP. Table 8 then sets out the results of the growth accounting exercise based on the growth of GDP and of our estimates of the capital stock in the transition countries. then a growth accounting exercise based on our estimates of the capital stock would show a faster growth rate of the capital stock and a correspondingly lower growth of TFP than would be obtained by undertaking the same exercise using capital stock series that did not adjust for the excess destruction of capital. As can be seen. only in Estonia and Hungary did TFP growth contribute more than 50 percent of GDP growth. capital accumulation was the main driver of aggregate growth. but there were also important differences among the transition countries themselves. TFP growth accounted for about the same percentage of aggregate growth as it did in Austria. The extent to which the transition-induced excess depreciation of the capital stock affects our perception of TFP growth of the transition economies is difficult to judge because of a lack of other estimates that are strictly comparable in terms of both time period covered and measurement of inputs. In the other transition economies. then the modelled stock of capita would exhibit faster growth from this lower starting point than would the official capital stock data. However. Table 7 provides the aggregate capital stocks estimated from Equation 12 for each country for the period 1995–2005.EM Bah & JC Brada TFP Growth and Structural Change 441 Table 7: Estimates of Aggregate Capital Stock. and only in these two countries did the contribution of TFP growth to GDP growth exceed that of Austria. 1995=100 Austria Bulgaria Czech Republic Estonia Hungary Latvia Lithuania Poland Slovak Republic Slovenia 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 103 109 108 113 107 115 113 113 109 113 107 118 115 126 115 131 126 126 119 126 110 127 122 139 122 148 140 138 127 138 114 136 129 154 130 166 155 151 136 150 117 145 135 169 138 185 170 163 144 161 120 153 141 185 146 205 186 175 152 172 124 162 147 202 154 226 202 187 160 182 127 171 153 220 163 250 220 200 168 192 130 181 159 239 172 275 238 212 175 201 134 191 164 260 181 302 258 224 182 210 beginning of this paper. if this difference in growth rates were significant.

9 EM Bah & JC Brada TFP Growth and Structural Change Comparative Economic Studies Table 8: Contributions of Capital Accumulation and TFP Growth to GDP per capita growth 1995–2005 .56 45.68 64.0 48.59 89.75 124.7 112.7 86.442 Growth 1995–2000 (percent) Austria Bulgaria Czech Rep Estonia Hungary Latvia Lithuania Poland Slovak Rep Slovenia GDP 19.9 23.5 125.74 41.8 27.32 27.46 107.66 90.12 8.8 40.71 49.0 69.96 41.83 12.45 110.50 55.39 TFP Contributions of TFP growth to GDP growth as percentage of total growth Our Estimate 1995–2005 Rapacki and Pro´chniak (2009) 1995–2003 48.42 9.54 16.82 11.8 30.79 202.0 46.09 157.51 Capital 33.5 43.8 44.2 58.01 82.01 159.65 80.15 48.1 55.73 116.2 68.0 67.10 33.5 103.26 59.62 22.00 57.7 84.

There are great TFP differences between them. but. Some of the difference between their estimates and ours may be the result of differences in measuring the labour input. Moreover. the TFP gaps between Austria and the new members we observed are not uniform across sectors of the economy. CONCLUSIONS AND POLICY IMPLICATIONS In this paper we have estimated the TFPs of the transition economies that have joined the EU and of a roughly comparable ‘old’ EU member. and these are also reported in Table 8. However. This structural change is not necessary favourable for the transition economies in the sense that the TFP gap between themselves and Austria is the smallest in agriculture and larger Comparative Economic Studies . but appear to be faster than. The TFP gap appears smallest in agriculture and greatest in industry or services depending on the country. the new member countries differ in the relative TFP levels of the three sectors vis a vis Austria. suggesting that catching up with the EU average may prove an impossible task for them. some of them are not improving productivity in industry or services or both. and. which on average are also lower than those of Austria. We averaged Rapacki and Pro´chniak’s annual estimates over the 1995–2003 period. while services employ the largest and increasing share of the labour force. TFP growth accounts for a significantly higher share of GDP growth. The proportion of the labour force employed in agriculture is falling. A second finding is that the transition economies themselves should not be seen as a homogeneous group. which do not account for excess depreciation of capital. in virtually all EU member countries. indeed. which has a per capita income that is higher than that of any of the new members. Austria. The structural changes taking place in the transition economies mirror. as suggested at the start of this section. in some cases over 100 percent of it. our estimates attribute a larger role to capital accumulation in the convergence process than do estimates that do not account for the transition-induced destruction of capital and the subsequent faster growth of the capital stock. and perhaps more troubling. as is that of those employed in industry. In their estimates.EM Bah & JC Brada TFP Growth and Structural Change 443 Perhaps the closest in comparability are estimates of the share of TFP in real GDP growth provided by Rapacki and Pro´chniak (2009) who calculated the annual contribution of TFP growth to real GDP growth for transition economies using total employment and perpetual inventory capital stock estimates based on gross investment for the period 1990–2003. those taking place in Austria. These differences in per capita income mirror differences in aggregate TFP. as well as in differences between sectoral TFPs.

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