Scotland’s “Middling” Productivity – An International Perspective

Mark Mitchell and Robert Zymek

University of Edinburgh


It is now well understood that differences in labour productivity – the value of goods and services that can be produced in an average hour of work – explain many observable economic differences between countries. Evidence shows that that highly productive economies outperform their less productive counterparts in in terms of per-capita income, population health, subjective wellbeing, and state-capacity (Caselli, 2005; Jones, 2015; Sacks, et al., 2012). For this reason, it is a cause for concern that labour productivity in Scotland – just as in the UK as a whole – is fairly low compared with other advanced economies. It suggests that Scotland could do better, and improve the lives of its citizens by moving up the productivity tables.

In work published earlier this year by the David Hume Institute (Kelly, et al., 2018), we examined Scotland’s productivity performance in an international context. We found that relative to member countries of the OECD – a club of advanced economies – Scotland’s labour productivity is only middling: Scotland is more productivity than most poorer OECD countries; but it is less productivity than many of its EU neighbours, including countries such as Finland, Denmark, Belgium and Ireland.

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December 3, 2018

EY: Attractiveness Survey 2018: “Another strong year, but with precious little room for complacency”

Duncan Whitehead is the EY Lead for Economic Advisory in Scotland – DWhitehead2@uk.ey.com.

He is also a visiting researcher at the Fraser of Allander Institute.  

The views expressed in this blog are those of Duncan. The blog summarises the latest findings from the EY Scotland Attractiveness Survey 2018 report.


Scotland continues to build on its recent strong FDI performance…

The latest findings from EY’s FDI attractiveness programme shows that Scotland recorded a 7% increase in the number of FDI projects secured, rising from 108 in 2016 to a 10-year high of 116. This means the number of inward investment projects in Scotland has reached new records in each of past three years.

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June 11, 2018