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Treasury releases Productivity Papers

17 April 2008

Immediate Release

Treasury releases Productivity Papers on enterprise, innovation, investment and skills

The Treasury today released four new Productivity Papers focusing on the key areas of enterprise, innovation, investment and skills.

The Treasury Productivity Papers are a series of papers that discuss New Zealand’s long-term productivity performance and the factors that may be inhibiting New Zealand from reaching its potential. Previously-released Productivity Papers include an overview of productivity drivers and challenges; an examination of past and more recent productivity performance; and an investigation of the changing nature and quality of the country’s workforce.

New Zealand’s long-term trend of productivity under-performance is the biggest economic challenge facing policy-makers and both the public and private sectors, and will require a sustained effort on a number of fronts. The Treasury is publishing its work on productivity performance and what matters for productivity in order to broaden and deepen public discussion on this important topic.

The papers released today are:

- Enterprise and Productivity: Harnessing Competitive Forces

- Innovation and Productivity: Using Bright Ideas to Work Smarter

- Investment, Productivity and the Cost of Capital: Understanding New Zealand’s “Capital Shallowness”

- Working Smarter: The Contribution of Skills to Productivity Growth

Summaries of the papers follow. The full papers are available on the Treasury’s website at: www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/research-policy/tprp.

The four Productivity Papers released today are:

Enterprise and Productivity: Harnessing Competitive Forces
This paper focuses on New Zealand's enterprise performance, using firm dynamics (e.g. entry and exit, and growth rates) and the level of firm internationalisation to infer potential issues in the business environment that may be holding back firm performance.

Innovation and Productivity: Using Bright Ideas to Work Smarter
This paper focuses on innovation as a driver of productivity growth, the special characteristics of knowledge that influence policy design, and the policy insights from the concept of a “national system of innovation”. It also assesses recent innovation performance and offers a view on what future policy should focus on in order to improve innovation and raise productivity.

Investment, Productivity and the Cost of Capital: Understanding New Zealand’s “Capital Shallowness”

This paper focuses on investment, looking at the small size of New Zealand's capital stock and its impact on New Zealand's productivity performance. It primarily addresses the physical capital stock – the total value of machinery, computing equipment, buildings and other physical capital that are the result of annual investment – investment being the annual flow that adds to stock and compensates for depreciation.

Working Smarter: The Contribution of Skills to Productivity Growth

This paper provides an overview of the skills picture in New Zealand, how skills interact with other productivity drivers, and a number of skills-related policy considerations. New macro-economic evidence is showing a significantly stronger (and more clearly causal) link between countries' skills and differences in their long-run economic growth performance. New Zealand’s overall levels of skill are relatively strong, but there are significant areas of weakness that will become increasingly important with demographic change and growing global competition.


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