International Comparison of Productivity among Asian Countries (ICPA) Project

Last Update: May 19, 2008

Scope and Motivation

RIETI (Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry) has launched the ICPA project for an international comparison of productivity among Asian countries to undertake a broad examination of the sources of economic growth and competitiveness through large-scale, internationally comparable databases. This project is based on the KLEMS framework, i.e., industry level data on capital (K), labor (L), energy (E), material (M), service (S) as well as gross output to come up with TFP (Total Factor Productivity). This scope of this project is to develop comparable KLEMS datasets for China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan and the United States.

In this project, relative prices for each component of KLEM are also estimated. Industry level relative output price can be derived from expenditure side PPPs or unit price data from manufacturing census and other survey data. Relative wages and capital service prices can be used for input price for L and K, respectively. These relative prices data enable us to calculate the levels of TFP by industry for Asian countries as well as the United States.

The output of this project, i.e., industry level TFP growth and level among Asian countries can be used for assessing relative competitiveness of Japanese industry. In addition, comparable input and output tables, as well as labor and capital input data, can be served as basic database for Asian economies, which can be applied to economic modeling of structural changes, energy demand, environment impacts and so on. Studies on growth decomposition of Asian economies are available at macro level (Young, 1995) or at aggregated industry level (van Ark and Timmer, 2003). However, this project sheds a new light on East Asian economic developments by providing more detail information on the sources of economic growth at industry level.

Project Activities

This project was initiated in 2001 by a research team inside RIETI, along with experts from China, South Korea, Taiwan and the United States, as detailed in Appendix 2. Since then, the team has developed data and measured Total Factor Productivity (TFP). In May 2003, the team organized an international conferencebased on its interim results. The project was completed in November 2007, and the data for five countries is available for download below. Methodology, data sources, and productivity comparison analysis can be found in the following publication.

Research Results


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