Productivity Performance Project

Enhancing productivity is the guiding theme of the UNIDO corporate strategy. This emphasis on productivity is not surprising since productivity growth ultimately determines welfare enhancement. Several studies comparing productivity among countries have been undertaken but, due to availability of data, concentration has been on developed countries. This project attempts to fill the gap by examining the productivity of a broad range of developing countries.

From UNIDO's perspective, productivity can and should be linked to the United Nation's Millenium Development Goals (MDGs). The importance of productivity analysis stems from productivity growth being one of the most influental factors in achieving the Goals. Since most productivity improvements are likely to take place in industry, it follows that industrialization plays a major role in helping countries attain some of the MDGs.

The questions addressed in the research project included:
  • What is the best measure of productivity?
  • What are the main determinants of productivity growth?
  • What kind of industrial policies boost productivity growth?
  • Are there special policy requirements in developing countries for enhancing productivity performance?
Answers to the above questions could help to increase one's understanding of productivity dynamics, and how industrial development contributes to productivity growth and, ultimately, alleviates poverty. Based on research results, strategies and guidelines can be developed and applied to technical cooperation activities, including UNIDO's policy advisory function.


World Productivity Database and Cross-Country Analysis
The research project was divided into two parts. In Part I, which was undertaken by UNIDO economists, the objectives are to: Country-Case Studies
Part II, carried out by national experts, comprises 15 country studies, which examine the productivity experiences of each of these selected developing countries in detail. The results were then analyzed and formed the basis for identifying constraints on productivity growth and propose policies to overcome them.

The countries selected were:
Africa :Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda
Arab :Egypt and Morocco
Asia :China, India, Indonesia and Republic of Korea
Latin America and Caribbean :Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Mexico

Each country case study consists of three main parts. In the first, the case study examines the country's productivity experience over more than three decades and provides an interpretation against the backdrop of overall growth performance. Next, it investigates a wide range of determinants of the productivity experience in the country, including technology, education, infrastructure, health, institutions and competition. Finally, part three discusses and analyzes policies related to productivity. Each case study provides policy recommendations on how the productivity performance in the country can be improved.


To learn more about the project in general or its specific parts, please contact:

Anders Isaksson (World Productivity Database and Cross-Country Analysis)
Telephone: +43-1-26026 3435;

Thiam-Hee Ng (Country Case Studies)