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Procyclical labour productivity: A closer look at a stylized fact

Hart RA & Malley JR (1999) Procyclical labour productivity: A closer look at a stylized fact, Economica, 66 (264), pp. 533-550.

At 4-digit United States manufacturing industry level, we find evidence suggesting that thestylized fact of procyclical labour productivity should be treated with great caution. We usethe NBER Manufacturing Productivity database to investigate the relationship betweenhourly labour productivity and real output for 450 industries for the years 1958-91. Labourproductivity is significantly procyclical in 63% of industries and acyclical in 36%. In the latterrespect, a high proportion of investment goods industries display acyclical productivity.Cross-section regressions are carried out that seek to explain the interindustry distribution ofcyclicality. The analysis attributes a significant role to variations in materials costs, as a proxyfor fluctuations in factor utilization.

industrial performance; labor productivity; manufacturing

AuthorsHart Robert A, Malley James R
Publication date11/1999
Publication date online03/03/2003
PublisherWiley-Blackwell for the London School of Economics and Political Science
ISSN 0013-0427

Economica: Volume 66, Issue 264 (NOV 1999)

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