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Nordic Economic Policy Review

Productivity and competitiveness

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The Nordic Economic Policy Review is published by the Nordic Council of Ministers and addresses policy issues in a way that is useful for in-formed non-specialists as well as for professional economists. All articles are commissioned from leading professional economists and are subject to peer review prior to publication. The review appears twice a year. The journal is distributed free of charge to the members of the Nordic economic associations. The easiest way to subscribe to the NEPR is therefore to become a member of one of these associations, i.e., Denmark: Nationaløkonomisk Forening Finland: Taloustieteellinen Yhdistys Norway: Samfunnsøkonomene Sweden: Nationalekonomiska Föreningen. For institutional subscriptions, please contact [email protected] Content: The widening productivity gap between the EU and the US: An introduction to the conference on productivity and competitiveness - Jakob B. Madsen and Anders Sørensen Up the hill and down again: A history of Europe’s productivity gap relative to the United States, 1950-2009 - Bart van Ark Comment by Matti Pohjola Regulation, resource reallocation and productivity growth - Jens Matthias Arnold, Giuseppe Nicoletti and Stefano Scarpetta Comment by Mika Maliranta Human capital and productivity - Angel de la Fuente Comment by Pekka Ilmakunnas Productivity and international firm activities: What do we know? - Joachim Wagner Comment by Markku Stenborg Innovation and productivity - Bronwyn H. Hall Comment by Ari Hyytinen A personnel economics approach to productivity enhancement - Edward P. Lazear and Kathryn L. Shaw Comment by Tuomas Pekkarinen Productivity and education: Benchmarking of elementary and lower secondary schools in Denmark - Peter Bogetoft and Jesper Wittrup Comment by Timo Kuosmanen

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Productivity and education: Benchmarking of elementary and lower secondary schools in Denmark

The performance of educational institutions has long been of interest to economists and politicians. This is not surprising because increasing academic skills may significantly boost economic development. School performance studies often focus on international comparisons, as in the popular PISA studies. However, we argue that national comparisons are more instrumental. Even in homogenous countries like Denmark, the ability of schools to create value for money varies considerably. Moreover, the comparability of schools and the ability to imitate peers are more apparent at a national scale. We use Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) to evaluate schools and identify best practices. We show that even with additional restrictions on the comparisons, the potential for improvement is considerable. We also show how decompositions may support policy decisions on resource allocation and structure, and how Interactive Benchmarking IB may directly support learning and strategic planning at individual schools.

English

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