每日新闻更新 - 英国的生产效率难题 The Daily Update - Can I have a P please Bob? The UK’s productivity conundrum

平均来看,在英国一个工人要用一整周完成的工作,同一个工人到了法国却只需要到周四下午就能把工作做完,从而能享受3天的休息日,这到底是为什么呢?英国的生产效率难题一直受到政府高层的关注,其严重性已经到了很难再夸张的程度。自从19世纪中期以来,英国国内生产总值已经增长了20倍,人们的生活水平得到了提高,然而,如果同时期的生产效率一直保持不变,那么到现在人均GDP也就仅是增长了两倍而已。自从上世纪70年代一直到全球金融危机爆发,英国劳动生产效率每年同比增长大约2%。然而,从2007年到现在以来,英国的生产效率只有很轻微的提高。

尽管生产效率低不只发生在英国,但如果同英国的贸易伙伴做一对比,就会发现英国是表现最差的。有人认为英国生产效率低下是因为宽松的货币政策阻碍了对低效企业(或者所谓的“僵尸企业”)的“创造性破坏”,妨碍了生产力更高的企业的发展,这也是很多年来出现在日本的情况,这更让英国的处境担忧,因为英国政府并没有从日本的失败中吸取经验教训。的确,只有日本的生产效率比英国低。英国国家统计局在2014年的报告指出,英国比G7国家的平均生产效率落后18%。英国的生产效率比美国低30%,比法国低31%,比德国低36%。正如英国职工大会秘书长Frances O’Grady所言:“虽然英国的就业率提高,但并没有创造足够多的优质工作。我们同其他国家巨大的生产效率差距还有很大的改善空间。”

今年早些时候,英格兰银行首席经济学家Andy Haldane就该问题发表了一份报告,分析了英国各领域的企业,发现只存在一小部分生产效率领先的企业,他们都积极采用技术、自动化、云计算等。然而,很大一部分企业的生产效率落后,同高生产率的企业有着天然之别。令人惊讶的是,超过一半的企业的生产率比各行业平均水平低50%。在该报告中,Haldane指出“这些证据说明,有大部分国家和企业的生产效率增长非常缓慢。这些生产效率落后的企业很难再追赶上领先的企业。”

那么,该做些什么呢?也许,只是也许,退欧是答案之一。正如Haldane指出的,法国就是很好的例子。由于法国拥有强大的工会联盟、高度管制的劳动力市场和极高的工资水平,使得聘用和解聘员工的成本都高于英国,因此企业大力进行投资技术,确保充分利用既有劳动力。由于这个原因,法国是经合组织中劳动力生产效率最高的国家之一。支持退欧的观点认为外籍员工拉低了工资水平。现在英国正在离开欧盟,再加上最低工资水平的提高,这将带来提高工资的压力,也会促使企业投资技术并加强提高效率。不能成功调整结构的企业很可能会变成“僵尸企业”,将面临破产,或者被合并,为效率更高的企业腾出市场空间。

然而,正如Haldane所说,不太可能有什么事件或政策能提高生产效率,但如果政府政策偏向支持低效率企业,英国可能就要走更长的路才能解决这个问题。

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