Traditional measures of productivity growth show very low gains made by most service industries since 1980s in the USA. However, other indices of ‘technological activity’, such as computerization, education, and occupational change, show that service industries were more technologically active than goods producers over this period. I first distinguish among three types of services: standardized like communications, customized like recreation, and hybrid like retailing. Using output, employment, and capital stock data for 43 industries over 1960–2000, I find that in terms of productivity standardized services behave like goods producers, customized services have had virtually zero productivity growth, and hybrid services fall in between. These results show up in historical data as well as in econometric analysis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Economics and Econometrics