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Centre for Business Research (CBR) news from 2007


The contribution of services and other sectors to Australian productivity growth 1980-2004

30 November 2007

A new report by the CBR, commissioned by the Australian Business Foundation, looks at Australia’s productivity performance from 1980 to 2004.

There has been a clear acceleration in the growth of labour productivity in Australia in the 1990s. From 1992 to 2004 labour productivity grew at an annual rate of 2.3 per cent compared to 1.6 per cent observed for 1980-1992. The analysis of productivity growth acceleration reveals that nearly all of the post-1992 acceleration can be attributed to the performance of just three services sectors: financial intermediation, wholesale trade and other business activities not elsewhere classified. The remaining sectoral contributions effectively cancel each other out.

The results demonstrate a similar pattern of contributions to productivity growth acceleration to that observed for the US in the McKinsey Global Institute reports for the periods 1995-2003, with services sectors playing a dominant role in both economies. This is particularly true in relation to wholesaling and financial intermediation. It is notable that retailing has not played a significant part in the Australian context. In relation to the overall sectoral concentration of productivity growth acceleration, the picture is more concentrated in the case of Australia than is the case for the US.

The study also shows that there are considerable variations in the importance played by different sectors to productivity growth both within and between periods. Our analysis suggests that the forces which have driven productivity growth in services sectors have been central to the overall acceleration of labour productivity growth. The transformation of productivity in the services sectors is intimately linked to the development and application of information technologies which in turn require the effective development of a wide range of complementary investments in management and other organisational and often intangible assets.

CBR awarded ESRC grant of £500,000

20 June 2007

The Centre for Business Research in collaboration with the Council for Industry and Higher Education has been awarded a grant of £500,000 from the Economic and Social Research Council to analyse the impact of higher education institutions on regional economies. Michael Kitson will direct the research in collaboration with Alan Hughes, with Maria Abreu and Vadim Grinevich appointed as Research Fellows on the project. The central aim of the project is to determine the factors affecting the incidence, form and effectiveness of knowledge exchange activities between the business and HEI sectors in the UK, and the way these and their impact vary across regional and sub-regional space.

Ian Jones, Michael Pollitt and David Bek win Best Paper Prize at EBEN UK

14 April 2007

At the 11th European Business Ethics Network (EBEN) UK Conference held at the University of Gloucestershire Business School, Cheltenham on 12-13 April 2007, Ian Jones, Michael Pollitt and David Bek’s paper, “Multinationals in their communities: a social capital approach to corporate citizenship projects”, was awarded Best Paper Prize. The paper was also recently published in the CBR Working Paper series as Working Paper No.337). Their prize-winning paper is based on their book of the same title which was launched in 12 June.

Find out more

Visit the European Business Ethics Network (EBEN) website

John Armour appointed to new Chair in Law and Finance at Oxford

20 March 2007

John Armour, Research Associate in the CBR and Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Law at Cambridge, has been elected to the Lovells Professorship of Law and Finance at the University of Oxford. He will be the first holder of the Chair. John first joined the Centre as a Research Fellow in the late 1990s to carry out research on insolvency law and corporate rescue. His current projects include work on the relationship between law, finance and development, a study of the impact on corporate rescue of the Enterprise Act 2002, and an analysis of the role played by bankruptcy laws on SME formation and development in various countries. John will continue to be a Research Associate of the CBR after his move to Oxford.

Appointments by Prime Minister to Membership of the Council for Science and Technology

2 March 2007

Professor Alan Hughes has been re-appointed to membership of the Council of Science and Technology for a further three years. The CST is the UK Government’s top-level advisory body on science and technology policy. It advises the Prime Minister and the First Ministers for Scotland and Wales on cross-cutting issues of strategic importance in science, engineering and technology.

The Council of Science and Technology is the Government’s top-level advisory body on science, engineering and technology policy. It advises the Prime Minister and the First Ministers for Scotland and Wales on cross-cutting issues of strategic importance in science, engineering and technology. The appointees to the Council represent a wide range of experience from the scientific community, business and charities.

Professor Hughes has considerable experience in advising Government committees and enquiries. He has acted as a special adviser to a House of Lords Select Committee enquiry into Entrepreneurship in Europe, as a consultant to HM Treasury, the Inland Revenue, the Bank of England and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Together with his CBR colleagues, Dr Andy Cosh and Anna Bullock, Professor Hughes has been responsible since 1991 for running the largest, and longest-running survey of the UK’s small and medium-sized enterprises – a research programme which has attracted an international reputation. He has also been responsible for a substantial research project comparing the innovative activity and links with the science base of UK and US companies (click here for report).

Professor Hughes says:

The Centre for Business Research and Cambridge Judge Business School both carry out a wide range of research into the organisational and management challenges facing firms as they seek to innovate, as well as research on the evaluation of policy initiatives in these areas. This background has proven to be very useful in the first three years as a member of the Council for Science and Technology and will I am sure continue to be so.

British enterprise: thriving or surviving?

20 February 2007

What has happened to Britain’s smaller businesses? The results of CBR’s latest large-scale survey of SMEs show that they are less ambitious, less innovative and less growth oriented today than they were in the 1990s. They face increasing competition and a shortage of skills in the workforce that is hampering their ability to grow into dynamic larger firms. Although there are signs of improvement in recent years, we examine whether they are thriving or simply surviving.

At this important conference businessmen, policy-makers and academics were invited to discuss the findings of our “British Enterprise: thriving or surviving?” survey and the important policy implications it reveals. It had a focus on three key topics: innovation, public policy and regional disparities.

The results of the survey were published simultaneously with this conference as British Enterprise: Thriving, or Surviving? SME Growth, Innovation & Public Policy 2001-2004.

Find out more

Visit the Centre for Business Research (CBR) website to order British Enterprise: Thriving, or Surviving? SME Growth, Innovation & Public Policy 2001-2004

Secrets of the world’s largest seed capital fund strategies for success: why Britain needs a US style SBIR programme

6 February 2007

A report by the Centre for Business Research, entitled Secrets of the World’s Largest Seed Capital Fund, is to be the focus of the next Cambridge Network Open Meeting, taking place on 21 March 2007.