[OPE] RE: labour productivity

From: GERALD LEVY (gerald_a_levy@msn.com)
Date: Tue Jun 03 2008 - 08:29:43 EDT

> michael perelman wrote:> > anybody with an ounce of sense would be puzzled by the concept of > > productivity.{DZ asked:}
> Perhaps I missed something here. In terms of physical output of good i > per unit of labour, what is puzzling about the concept of labor > productivity here?
Hi Dave:
There are multiple puzzles such as how to unambiguously define 
and measure the units of physical output and how to unambiguously 
define a 'unit of labor'.  
Where there are heterogeneous types of output, eg. in the case of 
joint production, this can be difficult. For instance, consider the following
real-life example: an individual auto assembly plant makes four different 
models of cars each with a variety of options and hence can not be 
considered to be homogeneous units of output (NB: this is reflected
in the price of the cars but there is also a big 'mark-up' for options).
Then, there is an issue associated with the 'physical' nature of the output.
E.g. suppose a book publisher makes an e-book available for downloading.
What is the 'output'?   Is it simply one e-copy which can be downloaded
or is it the total number of copies downloaded using the time and 
computers of the recipient?
A 'unit of labor' also presents measurement problems, e.g. in the case
of heterogeneous labor.   It's also possible that various kinds of 
non-productive activities can be counted as 'units of labor'. 
In solidarity, Jerry

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