Do Technology-Intensive Activities Drive Industrial Labor Productivity Levels? - Núm. XXXV-2, Noviembre 2016 - Ensayos. Revista de economía - Libros y Revistas - VLEX 653654305

Do Technology-Intensive Activities Drive Industrial Labor Productivity Levels?

Autor:Raúl Vázquez López
Cargo:Institute of Economic Research National Autonomous University of Mexico
Páginas:123-150
RESUMEN

This article analyzes the contribution of technology-intensive activities to the increase in aggregate labor productivity in the industrial sector for a set of 28 countries, dividing 150 industrial classes into four groups based on their degree of technology content (High, Medium-High, Medium-Low and Low). After decomposing the evolution of labor productivity with a statistical method, it was... (ver resumen completo)

 
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Ensayos Revista de EconomíaVolumen XXXV, núm.2, noviembre 2016, pp. 123-150
Do Technology-Intensive Activities Drive Indus trial Labor
Productivity Levels?
¿Las actividades tecnológicamente intensivas impulsan la
productividad laboral industrial?
Raúl Vázquez López*
Fecha de recepción: 11 IV 2016 Fecha de aceptación: 22 IX 2016
Abstract
This article analyzes the contribution of technology-intensive activities to the
increase in aggregate labor productivity in the industrial sector for a set of 28
countries, dividing 150 industrial classes into four groups based on their
degree of technology content (High, Medium-High, Medium-Low and Low).
After decomposing the evolution of labo r productivity with a statistical
method, it was found that these activities did not contribute significantly to
the increase in the ef ficiency ind icator. These exercises also corroborate the
absence of a global structural change in industry that would drive levels of
aggregate labor productivity.
JEL Classification: L16; O14; L60.
Keywords: Industry. Structural Change. Productivity. Tec hnology Change.
Economic Development.
Resumen
El presente artículo analiza, para 28 países, la contribución de las actividades
tecnológicamente intensivas al i ncremento de la productividad laboral
agregada del sector industrial, separando 150 clases industriales en cuatro
grupos en función de su contenido en tecnología (Alta, Media Alta, Media
Baja y Baja). Tras aplicar una técnica estadística de descomposición de la
evolución de la productividad laboral, se encuentra que no existe un aporte
significativo de e stas actividades al aumento d el indicador de eficiencia. Los
* Institute of Economic Research (IIEc.) -National Autonomous University of Mexico
(UNAM). Address: Circuito Mario de la Cueva s/n, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán, CP
04510, Mexico City. Email: ravazz@hotmail.com
The research was supported by the UNAM-DGAPA-PAPIIT Program IN302815.
Ensayos Revista de Economía
124
ejercicios efectuados permiten también corroborar la ausencia de un cambio
estructural global en la industria propulsor de los niveles de productividad
laboral agregados.
Clasificación JEL: L16; O14; L60.
Palabras Clave: Industria. Cambio estructural. Productividad. Cambio
tecnológico. Desarrollo Económico.
Introduction
Historically, ample literat ure has maintained the need for a structural change
to revitalize productivity levels as a prerequisite for economic growth and
development. Both the orthodox perspective and various heterodox
approaches have p romoted the practicality of directing a vailable resources
towards more efficient uses through transformations in the sectoral
composition of the economy. From one po int of view, neoclassical axioms
defend the capacity of the market to efficiently allocate resources to different
uses and understand global economic liberalization as an op portunity to
relocate productive factors and inputs to more profitable uses (Bhagwati,
1988).
Grossman and Helpman (1991 ) specifically emphasize the relevance of
innovation, the deliberate result o f investment in industrial research and
development, as a growth factor, and ascertain that countries specialized in
high-technology activities achieve higher productivity growth rates. Lucas
(1988) goes even further in this argument, suggesting that public polic y
measures ar e essential in fostering structural changes to transform the
productive specialization pattern in favor of technology -intensive sectors
with better expectations for the terms of international exchange.
Likewise, the structuralist approaches, such as the Economic Commission for
Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) point of view, underline the
importance of generating spillover effects, pecuniary and technological
externalities and backward and forward linkages resulting from the structural
change (Cimoli, 2005A). In the tradition of structural c hange models with an
unlimited supply of labor, such as models by Lewis (1955), Jorgenson (1961)
and Fei and Ranis (1961), Furtado (1963), also related to this school of
thought, professes the need to transfer workers from more back ward sectors,
such as agriculture, to modern sectors (read: industry), as a first step to
invigorate demand. This line of argument incorporates Keynesian principles,
because the increase in productivity resulting from the cha nge in employment
composition leads to wage raises that diversify consumption and in turn
transform the productive structure to become more efficient.

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