Do the French and Germans just work harder than us?

The Times 23 May 2017

Why are British workers less productive? It is a question that keeps economists awake at night. The financial crisis hit productivity around the world. France and Germany have recovered well but workers in Britain take an average of five days to produce what their peers in France, Germany and the US do in four. This matters.

Helen Miller, of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, says: “Why do people get wage increases? Generally because they are able to produce more for every hour of work they do. So if productivity is not growing, we shouldn’t really expect our real living standards to go up.”

Measuring productivity is not an exact science. To determine output per hour, economists must first determine output. In manufacturing, this is relatively straightforward; steel… 

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