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"Den nya produktivitets-paradoxen"

"The government's data says Americans are working fewer hours. But you're still staying at the office every night. What gives?"
Daniel Altman granskar den (påstått) brant ökande produktiviteten i den amerikanska ekonomin de senast åren i Business2.0
"According to government statistics, the productivity of American workers has grown more in the past three years than it did during any similar stretch since World War II, and has risen by an average of 3 percent annually since 1996. (...) Yet many workers complain that they're paying the price in longer, tougher workdays."
Hur kommer det sig? Systemfel i statistikunderlaget, menar Altman (jag citerar en länger bit, eftersom Business artiklar tenderar att försvinna från webben efter en tid):
"In Uncle Sam's productivity figures, millions of bleary-eyed workers simply don't exist.

How did they disappear? The government doesn't explicitly measure individual productivity; instead, it surveys businesses to quantify changes in their output of goods and services, the size of their payrolls, and the average weekly hours of the people on those payrolls. Using those numbers, the BLS calculates the change in the average worker's output per hour. But the figures leave out some important details.

For one, the surveys canvass corporate employment only, not government work, even though government has been one of the main generators of new jobs since 9/11. And the data is based on "nonsupervisory" workers, so it omits managers. Part-time, temporary, self-employed, and off-the-books workers are also underrepresented.

As an experiment, let's see what would happen to productivity statistics if they were recalculated using a more realistic cross section of U.S. workers - say, from a monthly Census Bureau survey that counts everyone who claims to have a job. And what if we also plug in the data about total hours worked in all jobs from the same survey?

The result is the more modest productivity trend (...) The untold productivity story is that there are actually more workers than the official figures suggest, and they're working a lot of hours - nudging the overall productivity growth number south.

Why should you care? For one, all this suggests that the long hours you've been working aren't so unusual after all. It also helps explain why your paycheck isn't growing. Productivity gains should lead to rising pay, but that hasn't happened."
Daniel Altman: A New Productivity Paradox (Business 2.0, oktober 2004)
Om detta är den "nya" produktivitetsparadoxen, vad är då den gamla? Det är den så kallade Solow-paradoxen. Om den - och om dessa frågor - skrev jag på Blind Höna för knappt ett år sedan i anteckningen Produktivitet.

Den var nummer fem i en liten serie anteckningar om "Att tjäna sitt bröd". Andra notiser i samma serie var Att tjäna sitt bröd (6), Att tjäna sitt bröd (7): Även i Sverige och Vad beror produktivitetsökningen på?

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25 sep 2004


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