Productivity trends in Europe

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Summary & aims

The study sought to examine why it is that the economies and labour markets of four of Europe’s major countries (the UK, France, Germany and Spain) appear to have responded rather differently to the financial crisis and recession. The study focused in particular on recent productivity trends in the four countries.



Together with research teams in France, Spain and Germany we examined recent trends in labour productivity in the four countries. We sought to establish why it is that country-level productivity and employment appears to have responded differently to the financial crisis and accompanying recession. The study entailed a review of existing work, plus new analyses of recent micro data sets for the four countries. The principal output of the project was a volume written by the four research teams and a conference to disseminate the findings.


The research was conducted in collaboration with research teams at CEPREMAP, the Paris School of Economics, CEE, the IAB and the Bank of Spain.

Timescale and funders

The research was funded by CEPREMAP and the Paris School of Economics. It began in December 2012 and was completed in the Autumn of 2014.


The latest findings on the productivity puzzle across Europe, including NIESR’s contribution, can be found here. Also see our discussion paper, “The UK’s Productivity Puzzle” and

Askenazy, P., Bellmann, L., Bryson, A. and Moreno-Galbis, E. (2016) The Productivity Puzzle across Europe, Oxford University Press