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By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Identify the role of labor productivity in promoting economic growth
  • Analyze the sources of economic growth using the aggregate production function
  • Measure an economy’s rate of productivity growth
  • Evaluate the power of sustained growth

Sustained long-term economic growth comes from increases in worker productivity, which essentially means how well we do things. In other words, how efficient is your nation with its time and workers? Labor productivity is the value that each employed person creates per unit of his or her input. The easiest way to comprehend labor productivity is to imagine a Canadian worker who can make 10 loaves of bread in an hour versus a U.S. worker who in the same hour can make only two loaves of bread. In this fictional example, the Canadians are more productive. Being more productive essentially means you can do more in the same amount of time. This in turn frees up resources to be used elsewhere.

What determines how productive workers are? The answer is pretty intuitive. The first determinant of labor productivity is human capital. Human capital is the accumulated knowledge (from education and experience), skills, and expertise that the average worker in an economy possesses. Typically the higher the average level of education in an economy, the higher the accumulated human capital and the higher the labor productivity.

The second factor that determines labor productivity is technological change. Technological change is a combination of invention    —advances in knowledge—and innovation    , which is putting that advance to use in a new product or service. For example, the transistor was invented in 1947. It allowed us to miniaturize the footprint of electronic devices and use less power than the tube technology that came before it. Innovations since then have produced smaller and better transistors that that are ubiquitous in products as varied as smart-phones, computers, and escalators. The development of the transistor has allowed workers to be anywhere with smaller devices. These devices can be used to communicate with other workers, measure product quality or do any other task in less time, improving worker productivity.

The third factor that determines labor productivity is economies of scale. Recall that economies of scale are the cost advantages that industries obtain due to size. (Read more about economies of scale in Cost and Industry Structure .) Consider again the case of the fictional Canadian worker who could produce 10 loaves of bread in an hour. If this difference in productivity was due only to economies of scale, it could be that Canadian workers had access to a large industrial-size oven while the U.S. worker was using a standard residential size oven.

Now that we have explored the determinants of worker productivity, let’s turn to how economists measure economic growth and productivity.

Sources of economic growth: the aggregate production function

To analyze the sources of economic growth, it is useful to think about a production function    , which is the process of turning economic inputs like labor, machinery, and raw materials into outputs like goods and services used by consumers. A microeconomic production function describes the inputs and outputs of a firm, or perhaps an industry. In macroeconomics, the connection from inputs to outputs for the entire economy is called an aggregate production function    .

Questions & Answers

the forces of dd and ss
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Begmee Reply
it is a Price at which there is no tendency for both the quantity demanded and quantity supplied to change.
Atanga
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Alejandro Reply
joint demand?
Isma
is when two commodities relate together
Emmanuel
it refers to the demand for two commodities that are jountly consumed or used together
Atanga
It is when commodities are used together
Addo
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emmanuel Reply
The Four Asian Tigers, Four Asian Dragons or Four Little Dragons, are the economies of Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan, which underwent rapid industrialization and maintained exceptionally high growth rates between the early 1960s and 1990s.
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Foday
a
Foday
what is GDP
Lamin
gross domestic product
Tawe
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Mmonwa Reply
hello
Birungi
Inflation is defined as the rise in price of a commodity.
Nureni Reply
It is defined as the rise in price of a commodity.
Nureni
the persistent rise in the prices of goods and services. or commodities.
SULEIMAN
pls the third and fourth law of supply
Yarouh
what's GDP?
Allen
gross domestic product
Annor
GDP stands for Gross Domestic Product
Sande
yes
HlobisileM
what us maxima and minima
MiXUP Reply
Maxima s below equilibrium. Whilst minima s above. Equilibrium
Afran
Wht is demand
Afran
is the willingness and the ability of a consumer to purchase goods at a given price and at a particular point in time.
Assan
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Afran
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Assan
3 Reasons.. 1... diminishing marginal utility 2... substitution effect 3...income effect
Harshita
thanks
Assan
Because of the negative or inverse relationship between price and quantity demanded
Afran
what is the law of diminishing returns states?
Assan
ohk
Assan
The law states that all other things being equall as much of variable factor(labour) is employed on fixed factor(land) the marginal product rises..attain a maximum and begins to fall.
Afran
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Afran
what is monetary policy
Edward
Monetary policy is an attempt to influence the economy by opera ting in such monetary variables
Afran
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Edward
Wlcm
Afran
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Afran
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Yhlas
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Yes please Disutility
Afran
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Oyas
the branch of economics concerned with large-scale or general economic factors, such as interest rates and national productivity.
idk
in other words it is the study of the economic as a whole
idk
What is an Economic growth
Ayumo Reply
Economic growth is the process whereby the real per capita income of an economy increases over a long period of time.
Nureni
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IDY Reply
Economics is defined by Lionel Robbins as a social science which studies human behaviour as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses
Tba
Lionel Robbins definition is the best and acceptable definition of Economics.
MUNTARI
Importance of economic
Achike Reply
Helps in decision making
MP
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Achike
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Physcal
Hey
Muhammad
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juwel
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Al-ameen
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MP
it helps an individual in rational decision making process
Assan
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Buzabaryaho
how does it make individual in rational dicision making decisions
Annor
if an individual is faced with unlimited wants.
Assan
it also helps an individual in arranging their wants in order of their importance.
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Annor
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Al-ameen
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Radah
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Radah
Please what is a scale of preference used for?
Radah
it's use for arranging wants in order of their importance.
Assan
in other words when an individual is faced with unlimited wants,scale of preference would help the individual to select the most important wants.
Assan
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Radah
welcome
Assan
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forgive Reply
Tourism is travel for pleasure or business
Yusuf
It is the commercial organization and operation of holidays and visits to places of interest.
Nureni
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sam Reply
A price taker is a person or a company who have no control to dictate a prices of a goods or services
Unique
Someone who sets price
Nureni
In the trading world, a price taker is a trader who does not affect the price of the stock if he or she buys or sells shares.
Nureni
A price taker refers to a firm or an individual who sets the price of his good and services based on an external factor. In other words he cannot choose and set a price by himself. An example is a firm operating in perfect competition where prices are set through the price mechanism.
Tba
in a common and suitable sense state the law of diminishing returns
Unique Reply
The higher the satisfaction derived from a particular commodity,the lower the demand for it but that law doesn't match in some instances.
Nureni
state the features of an imperfect competitive market
Naomi
@NURENI instance like wat
Unique
imperfect competitive market involves large number of sellers and buyers price makers selling cost product differentiation free entry and exit of a firms
Unique

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Source:  OpenStax, Principles of economics. OpenStax CNX. Sep 19, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11613/1.11
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