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  • Print publication year: 1994
  • Online publication date: February 2010

J - Measures of productivity


The Marxian measure of productivity q* is the primary one. It is derived by deflating our measure of total product TP* by the GNP price deflator py (in 1982 dollars), and then dividing by hours of productive labor Hp to obtain hourly productivity. Because orthodox measures of productivity are based on value added rather than total product, we also calculate a quasi-Marxian measure y*, which is real Marxian value added per productive worker hour. This differs greatly in level from q*, but has essentially the same trend, because the proportion CVTP* of circulating constant capital to total product is extremely stable (see Section 5.2, Figure 5.6, and Appendix E). These Marxian productivity measures are listed in Table J.1.

Orthodox measures of productivity vary considerably. The most common one is real GDP per employee hour, which we call y. Also available is the BLS measure y1 of real GDP originating in the non farm business sector by their estimate of hours of persons engaged in production (employees plus self-employed persons) in this same sector. Since the BLS measure is only available in index-number form, we calculate an equivalent measure of productivity y2 in the non farm business sector, as the ratio of real GDP to total hours of all persons engaged. The total-hours measure H2 is in turn calculated by multiplying the average hours per full-time equivalent employee in domestic industries (from NIPA) by estimated non farm total employment (based on our employment data in Table F.1).