Labor Productivity and Economic Growth

Self-Check Questions

Are there other ways in which we can measure productivity besides the amount produced per hour of work?


Yes. Since productivity is output per unit of input, we can measure productivity using GDP (output) per worker (input).

Assume there are two countries: South Korea and the United States. South Korea grows at 4% and the United States grows at 1%. For the sake of simplicity, assume they both start from the same fictional income level, $10,000. What will the incomes of the United States and South Korea be in 20 years? By how many multiples will each country’s income grow in 20 years?


In 20 years the United States will have an income of 10,000 × (1 + 0.01)20 = $12,201.90, and South Korea will have an income of 10,000 × (1 + 0.04)20 = $21,911.23. South Korea has grown by a multiple of 2.1 and the United States by a multiple of 1.2.