Productivity is the main determinant of living standards. Economies that are more productive generate greater ability to support and enhance wellbeing of their citizens via higher incomes, better infrastructure, more services and improved sustainability of welfare systems. In the last decade, the OECD countries have been confronted with decreasing productivity growth, declining business dynamism and job reallocation rates, and increasing regional productivity disparities. Large cities tend to prosper, while smaller places often feel left behind. Yet, all places have growth potential.
A focus on productivity of places or spatial productivity allows to understand and put to work local and regional engines of growth. This will expand economic opportunities in all places while decreasing inequalities. Knowledge of subnational productivity drivers in different types of places is crucial for building back better and making the post-COVID world more prosperous, resilient and inclusive.
How do mass lay-offs affect regional economies?
This paper estimates the impact of mass lay-offs between 2008-18 across small regions (TL3) in Europe on regional employment and productivity. Mass lay-offs from firms and plant restructuring occur regularly and can have potentially large consequences on places and communities. Policy makers may consider supporting firms, in order to prevent mass lay-offs but at the risk of interfering with economic dynamism, or targeting affected workers, to help them transition to new employment.
Policies for resilient local economies
This paper reviews the empirical evidence for effective policies from across the OECD to strengthen local economic resilience through support for people, firms and places. There is a strong need for effective policies in times of recessions, natural disasters and long-term structural change. Policies that strengthen economic resilience strongly overlap with policies for local productivity growth and vice-versa. Moreover, some policies aiming to increase resilience through adding redundancy in production or infrastructure can serve productivity in the long-term.
The spatial dimension of productivity in Italian co-operatives
This report explores the spatial dimension of productivity in the co-operatives of Italy, a country where they make up a relatively large share of total national employment. Co-operatives play a countercyclical role in job creation during crises. In a post-pandemic world, they could make a major contribution to steering the economy towards inclusiveness and sustainability. Productivity growth ensures that co-operatives can achieve both economic and social goals in the future. This report applies a place-based approach to investigate the issue of productivity in co-operatives, given their many interdependencies with local communities. Available also in Italian
A comprehensive approach to understanding urban productivity effects of local governments
This paper advances our understanding of the spatial dimension of productivity by investigating the link between subnational governance arrangements and urban labour productivity. It presents a detailed study of the direct and indirect effects of decentralisation (local autonomy), government quality and fragmentation and empirically demonstrates the need for a comprehensive approach when considering the effects of governance-related characteristics on regional economic outcomes.
Labour demand weakening during the COVID-19 pandemic in US cities
This paper explores patterns of short-term labour demand weakening in Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) of the United States and the associated regional factors. The paper considers online job vacancy postings in February-June 2020. The data show that in larger MSAs, online job postings contracted more and the recovery was slower compared to smaller MSAs. Non-tradable service occupations, particularly those involving face-to-face interactions, contracted the most. The regression analysis reveals that different metropolitan characteristics were associated with the initial drop (February-April) and the recovery (May-June) in online job posting.
The geography of Swedish SMEs’ investments
This paper advances our knowledge of the spatial determinants of productivity by empirically demonstrating one such mechanism – clear differences along the urban-rural continuum in the sensitivity of SMEs’ investments to own cash flow. Whereas the literature has established uneven availability of credit across space, the evidence on whether this translates into differences in actual business investments remains scarce. We answer this question in the context of Sweden – a highly digitalised country with low regional inequalities.
Local ability to rewire and socioeconomic performance
The paper examines the effects of three groups of factors (county economic structure, social/demographic attributes and geography) on employment growth and poverty change in US counties before and after the Great Recession. It finds that the industrial structure that facilitates inter-industry employee flows (“rewiring”) is of increasing importance post-Recession. In particular, this measure is associated with employment growth in under-performing counties suggesting that removing barriers to the flow of resources within lagging economies and increasing their adaptability potential might be a viable policy option.
The spatial dimension of productivity
This working paper offers a synthesis of the current knowledge on the determinants of productivity. It carefully reviews both “spatial” (e.g. agglomerations, infrastructure, geography) and “aspatial” (e.g. human capital, labour regulations, industry-level innovation and dynamism) productivity drivers and demonstrates how the underlying spatial dynamics behind the latter group makes all productivity determinants “spatial” in nature. The paper demonstrates that productivity is inherently a spatial phenomenon and its understanding without a local/regional dimension is incomplete.
Call for papers: Spatial Productivity Lab special sessions at RSA 2023, ERSA 202, A.I.S.Re. 2023
19th SPL meeting: Socioeconomic trends in the host region Trentino-Alto Adige/South Tyrol (Italy)
18th SPL meeting: Productivity and resilience in regions and cities
Mass layoffs and local impacts: what we know and what can be done
17th SPL meeting: Business dynamism and regional productivity
Spatial Productivity Lab special sessions at GEOINNO 2022, ERSA 2022, A.I.S.Re. 2022 and KLEMS 2022
16th SPL meeting: Regional institutions and productivity - Implications for policy
15th SPL meeting: Recent trends in Trentino and Alto-Adige/South Tyrol (Italy)
14th SPL meeting: Innovation diffusion: How can regions benefit?
Relaunch of productivity for regional growth and cohesion | ERSA Congress 2021
13th SPL meeting: Adoption of advanced technologies - Productivity and labour market implications
Productivity policies for places - OECD/EC Project and workshop series
Workshop: Urban productivity, local government and the levelling up agenda
12th SPL meeting: Spatial productivity in the post-COVID-19 world
11th SPL meeting: Recent socioeconomic trends in Trentino and Alto-Adige/South Tyrol (Italy)
10th SPL meeting: Business incentives and firm entry - The past, the present and the future
9th SPL meeting: The new reality of teleworking - People, firms, places
8th SPL meeting: The world changed by COVID-19 - Policy, economy, society
7th SPL meeting: Spatial productivity for regional and local development
5th GeoInno Conference: OECD Spatial Productivity Lab Policy Sessions
6th SPL meeting: Spatial productivity for regional and local development
5th SPL meeting: Spatial productivity for regional and local development
OECD Spatial Productivity Lab Special Sessions| ERSA Congress 2019
4th SPL meeting: Spatial productivity for regional and local development
Workshop: Spatial dimensions of productivity
3rd SPL meeting: Spatial productivity for regional and local development
OECD ERSA Winter School: Spatial productivity for regional and local development
2nd SPL meeting: Spatial productivity for regional and local development
Workshop: Regional productivity catching up - The role of the EU cohesion policies and the OECD perspective
Workshop: The determinants of job polarisation - Lessons from the Dutch local labour markets
Policy panel: Technology & Jobs, a perspective across levels of government
Key note lecture: Impact of new technologies on jobs and its effect on local economies
Workshop: Technology and work - The rise of Cultural and Creative Industries
1st SPL meeting: The contribution of regions to the productivity of nations
OECD Regional Outlook 2021: Addressing COVID-19 and moving to net zero greenhouse gas emissions
OECD Regional Outlook 2019: Leveraging Megatrends for cities and rural areas
Productivity and jobs in a globalised world - (How) Can all regions benefit?
Better use of skills in the workplace - Why it matters for productivity and local jobs
What makes cities more productive? Evidence on the role of urban governance from five OECD Countries
Does it pay to live in big(ger) cities? The role of agglomeration benefits, local amenities, and costs of living
OECD Regional Outlook 2016: Productive regions for inclusive societies
OECD Global Forum on Productivity library
Local development, urban economies and aggregate growth in Italy (Italian version here)
Ageing workforce and productivity: The unintended effects of retirement regulation in Italy
Management practices, environmental conditions and productive efficiency in the service industry. An empirical study of the hotel industry in Trentino (Italian only)
New studies on growth and productivity in Trentino (Italian only)
Economic growth and productivity: Measurements and applications - The case of the Autonomous Province of Trento (Italian only)
This activity is implemented in co-operation with national institutions in Italy and in interested OECD countries; as well as with regional authorities of Trentino Alto Adige Sudtirol, other regions in Italy and other OECD countries. The research team includes economists and related researchers detached from OECD and other relevant research centres, universities in Italy and internationally.
Interested in partnering with the Spatial Productivity Lab at the OECD Trento Centre? Contact Carlo.Menon@oecd.org and Wessel.Vermeulen@oecd.org.