Die Produktivitätslücke

Während der gesamten 90er Jahre ist die Produktivitätsrate in Europa Jahr für Jahr um 18% niedriger als in den Vereinigten Staaten gewesen. Die Zahlen variieren von Land zu Land, haben aber in keinem Fall die der USA übertroffen. Am Ende des Jahrzehnts hat die europäische Produktivitätslücke im Vergleich zu den USA relativ geringe 7% in Italien, 9% in Frankreich, 12% in den Niederlanden, beträchtliche 25% in Dänemark und 23% in Großbritannien betragen. Wodurch erklärt sich dieser drastische Unterschied?

Die Produktivität einer Volkswirtschaft - d.h. die Menge der Produktion pro eingesetzter Arbeitskraft - hängt von drei Faktoren ab: dem eingesetzten Kapital, der Qualität der Arbeitskraft und der Fähigkeit, Arbeitskraft und Kapital effizient zur Erbringung von Waren und Dienstleistungen miteinander zu verknüpfen, was Wirtschaftswissenschaftler als die "gesamte Faktorproduktivität" bezeichnen. An der Kapitalverfügbarkeit liegt es nicht, denn europäische Firmen haben mehr als genug Kapital! Sie verwenden mindestens seit 20 Jahren viel kapitalintensivere Technologien als US-Firmen, vielleicht in Reaktion auf starre Arbeitsmärkte.

Im Vergleich zu den USA ist die Kapitalintensität in Dänemark 80% höher, in Frankreich 60%, in Italien 50% und in Deutschland 40%. Sogar in Spanien beträgt das pro Arbeitskraft eingesetzte Kapital 30% mehr als in Amerika. Und der Trend zur Rationalisierung zeigt keine Ermüdungserscheinungen: seit Mitte der 80er Jahre ist die Kapitalintensität europäischer Firmen im Vergleich zu US-Firmen um 6% gestiegen.

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