Home > Clive Crook, Economics, Europe vs America > Europe vs America

Europe vs America

Clive Crook has a nice summary along with his thoughts on a fairly big blog debate on the merits of the US economic system versus Europe’s. He mainly finds that although each do better at certain things, neither is objectively better. And, of course, the picture is complicated.

If America’s living standards suddenly descended to Europe’s, rather than the other way round, it would be a calamity that would make the country’s present economic difficulties look trivial.

And yet, as I say, higher U.S. productivity is not the main reason for this prosperity gap. Comparing America with the richest European countries, output per hour worked is not that different. In levels of productivity, Europe’s most successful economies have caught up. Then why are they still so much poorer? Because Europeans work less. A higher proportion of the U.S. population is employed, and Americans work longer hours. Effort, not efficiency, is why Americans are richer.

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