We use tests for multiple breaks at unknown points in the sample, and the Stock-Watson (1996, 1998) time-varying parameters median-unbiased estimation methodology, to investigate changes in the equilibrium rate of growth of labor productivity–both per hour and per worker–in the United States, the Eurozone, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Japan over the post-WWII era. Results for the U.S. well capture the ‘conventional wisdom’ of a golden era of high productivity growth, the 1950s and 1960s; a marked deceleration starting from the beginning of the 1970s; and a strong growth resurgence starting from mid-1990s. Evidence clearly suggests the 1990s’ productivity acceleration to have reached a plateau over the last few years. Results for the Eurozone point towards a marked deceleration since the beginning of the 1980s, with equilibrium productivity growth stabilising over the most recent period.
bootstrapping frequency domain median-unbiased estimation Monte Carlo integration Structural break tests time-varying parameters variance ratio