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Study on the cost competitiveness of European industry in the globalisation era - empirical evidence on the basis of relative unit labour costs (ULC)

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Cambridge Econometrics.

This study has developed a database of estimates of unit labour costs (ULCs) and real effective exchange rates (REERs; nominal exchange rates deflated by relative ULCs and weighted for the importance of each trading partner to a country's trade) at the 2-digit NACE level for manufacturing industries. It has relied upon OECD and Eurostat data for the developed countries, and has supplemented this with data gathered directly from the statistical offices of Brazil, China, India and Russia in order to include these countries in the analysis. Data for broad groups of service sectors have also been developed for comparison.

Chapter 2 presents a brief literature review on the relevance of ULCs as a measure of competitiveness. Chapter 3 notes the macroeconomic (all-manufacturing) trends in the data.

The scope for analysis of the database is potentially large. In the remaining chapters of this report we present results along a number of different lines of enquiry. Chapter 4 presents selected results on a country-by-country basis, and draws out some common themes. Chapter 5 uses the database to compare outcomes for a selection of new and old Member States to detect evidence of convergence in performance of the new MS. Chapter 6 summarises the results for service sectors. Chapter 7 presents results for Brazil, China and India. Chapter 8 draws conclusioons from the analysis.

The appendices describe the methods and data sources and also compare the results for ULCs and REERs for all-manufacturing with those available from the OECD and ECB.

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