Is the U.S. inventive?

A simple comparison of productivity evolution in advanced economies. Acemoglu,  Robinson and Verdier published a paper on technological progress  or “inventiveness” of the U.S.  This paper was not accepted well in the blogosphere. Not repeating the argumentation against the paper I’d like to presents three simple graphs.  I propose to measure the technological progress of a country by the growth rate of productivity. There are three variables representing productivity: output per hour, Ph, output per worker, Pw, and GDP per capita, G. The intuition is simple – rising productivity mostly reflects the usage of most progressive technology and human capital (also kind of technology). In order to compare various countries, I have normalized all time series to their respective values in 1950. Therefore, the curves in Figure 1 show the relative growth.  One can judge that the growth in the U.S. was the lowest. Japan rules! France is very productive. The UK is the closest to the U.S.  (All data are borrowed from TED maintained by the Conference Board.)


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