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Enterprise and Productivity: Harnessing Competitive Forces - TPRP 08/04

Publication Details

  • Enterprise and Productivity: Harnessing Competitive Forces
  • Published: Apr 2008
  • Status: Current
  • Authors: Kidd, Neil
    • Hard copy: Not available in hard copy.

    Enterprise and Productivity: Harnessing Competitive Forces

    New Zealand Treasury Productivity Paper TPRP 08/04

    Published Apr 2008

    Author: Neil Kidd


    One of the biggest challenges facing New Zealand is its productivity shortfall relative to other OECD countries: New Zealand is currently ranked 22nd out of the 30 OECD countries in the productivity league table and an hour worked in New Zealand typically generates 30 per cent less output than an hour worked in Australia. Low productivity is not a new phenomenon: productivity has been an issue in New Zealand since at least the 1970s.

    A focus on productivity is desirable not only so that New Zealand becomes more internationally competitive, but also because, in the long run, growth in incomes is fundamentally linked to output per worker. Growth in GDP per person rests on either encouraging a greater proportion of the population into work, or by improving the productivity with which each worker produces output. New Zealand has performed well in encouraging increased numbers of people into the labour market, but there is a limit to how much increased participation in the workforce can drive further growth. Productivity improvements must be at the heart of New Zealand’s future economic growth. 

    This paper is part of the Productivity Performance and Policy series of papers that discuss New Zealand’s long-term productivity performance and the factors that may be inhibiting New Zealand from reaching its potential. Putting Productivity First is the overview paper which sets out the productivity challenge facing New Zealand and highlights key issues across five drivers of productivity: enterprise, skills, innovation, investment, and natural resources. The next two papers, New Zealand’s Productivity Performance and Does Quality Matter in Labour Input? The Changing Pattern of Labour Composition in New Zealand, discuss past and more recent productivity performance and the impact that improving labour quality has had on labour productivity respectively. The final four papers address the enterprise, innovation, investment and skills drivers in turn, building on the analysis in the preceding papers by reviewing and interpreting available evidence to draw conclusions for the underlying factors affecting productivity.

    A number of factors are important for lifting productivity and there are no quick fixes. For some measures the impact may not be seen for decades. Enterprise and the policies that underpin it are one important element in lifting productivity performance.

    Table of Contents

    Browse section/chapter Download/Page range


    The entrepreneur as a driver of productivity growth

    Entrepreneurial activity: how does New Zealand perform?

    A framework for considering entrepreneurship

    New Zealand’s enterprise culture: a dearth of management skills?

    Entrepreneurs’ access to resources…

    The policy framework: still room to improve?

    Implications for policy


    tprp08-04.pdf (142 KB) pp. 30

    List of Figures

  • Figure 1: Growth of entering firms, conditional on survival in 2003
  • Figure 2: Multifactor productivity levels compared with the UK (UK=100), 2002
  • Figure 3: Elements of entrepreneurship
  • Figure 4: Perceived availability of competent senior managers, 2004 and 2006
  • Figure 5: Product market regulation and competition index, 2003


    This paper was prepared by Neil Kidd. Comments were provided by staff in the Treasury. Thanks in particular go to Nic Blakeley, Norman Gemmell, Ben Naylor and Sian Roguski.

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