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Lawrence R. Klein Lecture 1997: Needed: A Theory of Total Factor Productivity

Edward C. Prescott
International Economic Review
Vol. 39, No. 3 (Aug., 1998), pp. 525-551
DOI: 10.2307/2527389
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2527389
Page Count: 27
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Lawrence R. Klein Lecture 1997: Needed: A Theory of Total Factor Productivity
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Abstract

This paper evaluates the argument that differences in physical and intangible capital can account for the large international income differences that characterize the world economy today. The finding is that they cannot. Savings rate differences are of minor importance. What is all-important is total factor productivity (TFP). In addition, the paper presents industry evidence that TFPs differ across countries and time for reasons other than differences in the publicly available stock of technical knowledge. These findings lead me to conclude a theory of TFP is needed. This theory must account for differences in TFP that arise for reasons other than growth in the stock of technical knowledge.

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