Measuring the other half: new measures of intangible investment from the ONS

Only half of investment by firms is in physical capital, such as buildings and machinery. The other half is in intangible assets, such as branding, software and training. This has been true for the past two decades or more in the UK, but only if you step beyond the measures in the National Accounts, which include only some of the recognised intangible assets. This paper surveys ongoing work at the Office for National Statistics to develop measures of investment in intangible assets, using new insights and innovative approaches.

The anatomy of UK labour productivity: lessons from new and existing data sources

The UK’s recent productivity performance has been strikingly weak. Output per hour worked, which increased by around 2.1 per cent per year in the decade leading up to the economic downturn, increased by just 0.2 per cent per year in the ten years following the global financial crisis. This paper presents three ‘stylised facts’ on the UK’s recent productivity performance through the lens of official statistics: the weakness of recent productivity growth; the ‘gap’ in productivity terms between the UK and other leading economies; and the large differences in productivity between businesses.

Rates of return and alternative measures of capital input: 14 countries and 10 branches, 1971-2005

We employ the EU KLEMS database to estimate the real rate of return to capital in 14 countries (11 in the EU, three outside the EU) in 10 branches of the market economy plus the market economy as a whole. Our measure of capital is an aggregate over seven types of asset: three ICT assets and four non-ICT assets. The real rate of return in the market economy does not vary very much across countries, the extremes being Spain (high) and Italy (low). The real rate appears to be trendless in most countries.