World Economics

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Total factor productivity
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The NTV Model for Total Factor Productivity
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Andrew Smithers, World Economics, June 2019
The consensus model for total factor productivity is unsatisfactory; the alternative, non-technology variables (‘NTV’) model resolves the objections to it and should therefore be preferred by economists. The key objections to the consensus model are that it is untestable, its assumption about corporate behaviour is falsified when tested and, for the accounting framework to function, the labour/capital ratio has to be as flexible on old capital as it is on new: an assumption which seems most unlikely. The differences in the results are non-trivial and the NTV model has positive implications for economic policy by showing how they could be changed to boost growth. NTV comprises all the variables, other than changes in labour and technology, that determine the level of investment and the capital stock. Changes in NTV are the net impact on the incentive to invest resulting from changes in the individual constituents, which are profit margins, the cost of equity, the cost of debt, leverage, corporation tax and the hurdle rate, which is the minimum expected return on equity needed to make new investment worthwhile in the opinion of management. The consensus model assumes that investment is partly determined by changes in the cost of capital while ignoring the impact of changes in the cost of equity and debt and in leverage. I show that this assumption is unjustified and why it is preferable to use NTV.
The Argentine Productivity Slowdown
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Ariel Coremberg, World Economics, September 2011
The purpose of this working paper is to analyse the main causes of economic growth in Argentina during the 1990–2006 period. This research proposes a methodology in order to identify Total Factor Productivity (TFP) gains in the strict sense of positive shifts in the production function, independent of short-run cyclical fluctuations in the utilization of productive factors and relative prices effects; distinguishing it from residual or apparent TFP which expresses a phenomenon of real cost changes but not necessarily changes in long-run economic growth. The main results of this research are that strict TFP has a lower trend than apparent TFP. Similar conclusions are obtained in the case of labour productivity adjusted for labour intensity. Argentina sustained a prolonged period of economic growth over 1990–2004, biased to capital accumulation and utilization during the 1990s, and biased to labour input demand after the devaluation year of 2002. In the light of these findings and the data problems after 2007 there are doubts about the ability of the Argentine economy to generate the necessary productivity gains to support sustainable long-term economic growth.

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