Productivity in the U. S. Services Sector: New Sources of Economic Growth

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Overview

The services industries —which include jobs ranging from flipping hamburgers to providing investment advice —can no longer be characterized, as they have in the past, as a stagnant sector marked by low productivity growth. They have emerged as one of the most dynamic and innovative segments of the U.S. economy, now accounting for more than three-quarters of gross domestic product. During the 1990s, 19 million additional jobs were created in this sector, while growth was stagnant in the goods-producing sector.

Here, Jack Triplett and Barry Bosworth analyze services sector productivity, demonstrating that fundamental changes have taken place in this sector of the U.S. economy. They show that growth in the services industries fueled the post-1995 expansion in the U.S. productivity and assess the role of information technology in transforming and accelerating services productivity. In addition to their findings for the services sector as a whole, they include separate chapters for a diverse range of industries within the sector, including transportation and communications, wholesale and retail trade, and finance and insurance.

The authors also examine productivity measurement issues, chiefly statistical methods for measuring services industry output. They highlight the importance of making improvements within the U.S. statistical system to provide the more accurate and relevant measures essential for analyzing productivity and economic growth.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The last decade has witnessed a healthy revival in productivity analysis....Nowhere have the changes described been more visible than in the US services sector, a development that Jack Triplett and Barry Bosworth chronicle in their impressive and timely study....It seems a safe bet that this study will be seen as truly pioneering in scope, wading with gusto and intelligence into what were recently largely uncharted waters." —Pierre Sauve, London School of Economics' International Trade Policy Unit, World Trade Review

"It seems a safe bet that this study will be seen as truly pioneering in scope, wading with gusto and intelligence into what were recently uncharted waters." —Pierre Suave, Research Associate at the London School of Economics' International Trade Policy Unit, Global and European Law Books, 10/31/2005

"an important book that should be read and digested by every economist interested in measuring productivity in general and in service industries in particular." —Erwin Diewert, University of British Columbia, International Productivity Monitor

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780815783350
  • Publisher: Brookings Institution Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 401
  • Product dimensions: 5.94 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 1.07 (d)

Meet the Author

Jack E. Triplett , is a visiting fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution. He served previously as a chief economist at the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. He is the editor of Measuring the Prices of Medical Treatments (Brookings, 1999). Barry P. Bosworth is a senior fellow and Robert V. Roosa Chair in International Economics at the Brookings Institution.

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Table of Contents

1 Introduction 1
2 Overview : industry productivity trends 6
Comment : Discussion of productivity trends and measurement issues in services industries 41
3 Output and productivity in the transportation sector 46
4 Output and productivity growth in the communications Industry 71
Comment : Discussion of the transportation and communications industries 87
5 Overview : productivity and measurement in the finance and insurance sector 95
6 Price, output, and productivity of insurance : conceptual issues 123
7 Measuring banking and finance : conceptual issues 177
Comment : Discussion of banking output 211
Comment : Discussion of output measurement in the insurance and the banking and finance industries 217
Reply to Dennis Fixler 230
8 Output and productivity in retail trade 233
Comment : Discussion of output and productivity in retail trade 251
9 Output and productivity in other services 256
10 High-tech capital equipment : inputs to services industries 274
11 Data needs 321
App. A Industry productivity accounts, 1987-2001 339
App. B Workshops in the Brookings program on output and productivity measurement in the services sector 365
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