Policy briefs


Policy Brief 5: Output and productivity growth in the healthcare sector: a study of four European countries


Healthcare expenditures have been growing rapidly in European countries over the past few decades and this is likely to accelerate given ageing populations. Ensuring efficient delivery of health services is therefore a priority. Even though there is a vast research literature on specific health<brconditions, there are only a few studies that examine the services provided by the health sector as a whole and to date very little international comparative research. This research is a first attempt to compare heath sector performance across countries.

Countries differ in the systems they employ to deliver health services, including the extent of government involvement in providing and/or funding these services, the types of conditions treated (e.g. chronic illness or routine procedures), where they are provided (e.g. in-hospital treatment versus outpatient care) and who provides the services (e.g. the mix between physicians and other health professionals). All of these factors are likely to impact on attempts to raise the productivity of the services but in ways that are difficult to evaluate. A prerequisite to understanding these drivers of productivity growth is to have robust measures of performance of the healthcare sector across countries.



Output and productivity growth in the healthcare sector: a study of four European countries


Policy Brief 4:  Employment protection, productivity, wages and jobs in Europe


Employment protection legislation (EPL) provides a right to job security that is highly valued by employees. At the same time, EPL brings costs to business in the form of reduced flexibility, which can be revealed via lower total factor productivity (TFP) growth. There may therefore be a trade-off between employment stabilisation and undesirable productive inefficiency.  Welfare issues associated with EPL are also of policy relevance, in particular in countries with marked two-tier labour markets. In the light of the current recession, while high EPL protects permanent workers from losing their jobs, it may damage employment prospects of young people and other disadvantaged groups of workers not likely to be covered by EPL.



Employment protection, productivity, wages and jobs in Europe


Policy Brief 3: The importance of educational attainment


A large body of literature has shown that educational attainment is key to fostering long-term economic growth at the macro level. Equally, educational attainment at the individual level is associated with a higher earnings potential and a lower risk of becoming unemployed. It is therefore appropriate that education features high on the Commission’s 2020 agenda for growth.


 The importance of educational attainment



Policy brief 2:  Market services and the EU productivity gap with the US


Recent research focusing on the extent of the EU's productivity gap with the US has highlighted the important role of the superior performance in market services in the US. These observations come from measures of outputs and inputs at the industry level developed in the EU KLEMS growth and productivity accounts (www.euklems.net).  However these data are dependent on measures of output in countries' national accounts and in turn are affected by differences in concepts and data sources employed by
national statistical offices.


 Market services and the EU productivity gap with the US



Policy brief 1: The importance of continuous training


Recent research has highlighted that organisational changes and intangible investments, such as workforce training, are necessary to gain significant productivity benefits from adopting and diffusing new technology such as information and communications technology. In the face of rapidly changing technology it is imperative that skills are appropriate and up to date and this is often easier to achieve through workplace training than through the general education system.


 The importance of continuous training

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Judith Harris


Birmingham Business School
Edgbaston Park Road
Birmingham B15 2TT




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This project is funded by the European Commission, Research Directorate General as part of the 7th Framework Programme, Theme 8: Socio-Economic Sciences and Humanities.

Grant Agreement no:244 709

The views expressed in this website are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Commission.

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