Of the 30-year average of 1.6 per cent whole-of-economy labour productivity growth, capital deepening contributed 0.9 percentage points and MFP 0.7 percentage points (Chart 1). This is at odds with the balanced growth/MFP growth framework which implies a contribution from capital deepening equal to capital’s share of factor incomes. After rising slowly over the past 30 years, capital’s share of factor income in Australia’s market sector is currently around 41 per cent (coming off its peak of 4 per cent in 2011-12).* 2.5 2.5 2.0 2.0 1.5 1.5 1.0 Mlin 1.0 0.5 0.5 0.0 -0.5 -0.5 1981-82 to 1984-85 1984-85 to 1988-89 _MFP 1988-89 10 1993-94 to 1993-94 1998-99 – Capital deepening 1998-9950 2003-04 to 2003-04 2007-08 Labour product 2007-08 to 2015-16 Source: ABS cat. no. 5260.0.55.002 and Treasury calculations. As a source of labour productivity growth, MFP growth is considered to have an important advantage over capital deepening Neoclassical growth theory implicitly assume that, unlike capital deepening, MFP growth does not necessarily require an economy to forgo consumption. As such, growth in MFP is generally considered a highly desirable – and sustainable – source of labour productivity prowth. That said, improvements in MFP do not come for free, given they usually require the uze of other factors of production However, Australia has largely avoided the downside to capital deepening-led labour productivity growth. Productivity improvements in the rest of the world have caused a persistent fall in the price of capital goods relative to consumption goods.
This has allowed Australia to sustain its high rate of capital deepening without forgoing ever higher levels of consumption It is important to note that the relative contribution of capital deepening and MFP may be skewed if new capital take some time to boost output For example, during an investment boom the contribution of capital deepening to labour productivity growth may be overstated and the contribution of MFP growth understated for capital with a long-time-to-build Such a delay in productivity associated with capital investment has been particularly evident in the Mining sector over the past decade â€“ with flow-on effects to whole of economy estimates of capital deepening and MEP growth. With the ending of the Mining investment boom and Mining output continuing to grow over coming years, MFP growth is expected to recover (although potentially be overstated). Factors driving historical aggregate labour productivity growth During the 1990, there wa strong growth in aggregate labour productivity (Chart 1). This can largely be attributed to more investment by firms in information and communications technology (ICT) and important microeconomic and macroeconomic reforms introduced since the mid-1980s. The former contributed not only to productivity growth through ICT production but aloo the use of ICT (Gretton, Gali and Parham, 2004). The latter included change in monetary and fiscal policies, capital markets, industry assistance, taxation, government enterprises, regulation, labour market and industrial relations, competition policy, innovation and training (Productivity Commission, 1999 and 2004). Theze reforms have been shown to have increased competition, promoted more efficient allocation of resources and improved international competitiveness. Some have argued that they also created a competitive environment that has led to permanently higher levels of innovation as busineszes anticipated global changes in technology, international competition and taste: (Dolman, 2009). The resurgence of economy-wide labour productivity prowth during the 1990 was led by the services sector. Industries like wholesale trade and financial services seized on new advances in ICT to transform the way they did business. And following the corporatisation and privatization of their operations, industries like telecommunications and utilities achieved continued productivity growth by scaling back investment levels and substantially reducing their workforces. Productivity levels in these industries roze towards the international technological frontier (Dolman and Gruen, 2012). However, aggregate labour productivity growth slowed during the 2000. Several factor contributed to this decline. The Agriculture sector was hit by drought and the Mining and Utilities sectors experienced a fall in productivity as it pursued an unrequited acceleration in input uze’ without a corresponding change in output (Parham, 2012).
At a broader level, a reduction of productivity growth in most developed countries would suggest a possible decline in the pace of technological change (Gordon, 2014). In the end, policy zettings that seek to support both capital deepening (by lowering the cost of capital) and MFP improvements (through greater efficiency, inovation and reallocation within existing resource constraints) will support future growth in labour productivity in Australia Sectoral analysis The drivers of agregate labour productivity growth can be better understood by examining the issue from a rectoral perspective. In particular, doing so provides insights into the role that structural change plays on asgregate productivity growth. Labour productivity, capital deepening and MFP can each be measured at the sectoral level. In the analysis that follows, the paper disassregates the economy into six sectors: Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing: Mining: Manufacturing: Utilities: Construction and Services, where Services is an assregate of all remaining zectors in the Australian economy. For this analysis, asgregate Labour productivity prowth comprises two component: a within sector contribution; and an across-sector contribution, also known as a structural change effect. The former Australian productivity trends and the impact of structural change is the sum of sectoral productivity growth weighted by sectoral GDP share. The latter is the change in productivity from sectoral reallocation of workers (see Appendix B for methodology).30 Within sector labour productivity growth In the absence of workers moving between sectors, it is the productivity growth within sectors that determines growth in aggregate labour productivity.
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