Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Occasional Papers,
National Institute of Economic Research

No 17: Hours, Capital and Technology - What Matters Most?

Johan Samuelsson ()
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Johan Samuelsson: National Institute of Economic Research, Postal: National Institute of Economic Research, P.O. Box 3116, SE-103 62 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: The Swedish economy has performed comparatively well after the severe financial crisis of the early 1990’s. One of the main reasons was that productivity growth in the business sector picked up in the 1990’s after a relatively lacklustre period in the 1980’s. The principal underlying cause of the higher pro-ductivity growth was rapid technological development, particularly in the ICT (information and communications technology) industries, but there are other explanations as well. In the early 1990’s many low-productivity firms were driven out of business in the wake of the financial crisis, temporarily (to some extent) raising the rate of productivity growth. Moreover, a higher degree of internationalization and deregulation of different markets has contributed to intensified competition, stepping up the pressure for structural transformation. One very interesting question is of course whether the strong trend in productivity growth will continue. To a considerable degree, the outcome will affect how rapidly material prosperity will increase in Sweden in the years ahead.

124 pages, May 22, 2008

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