Brazilian aerospace manufacturing in comparative perspective: A Brazil/USA comparison of output and productivity

Daniel Vertesy & Adam Szirmai


A comparison of the performance of the Brazilian aerospace industry with that of the world leader in aerospace production, the USA, requires appropriate conversion rates. Following the methodology of the International Comparisons of Output and Productivity project (ICOP), we calculate unit value ratios for the aerospace industry based on ex-factory prices. So far no comparisons have been made for this sector, due to problems of disclosure in national statistics. In this paper, we have made adjustments to official data from industrial surveys using supplementary data on quantities and prices from a variety of other sources. Our 2005 unit value ratios for the aerospace industry are somewhat lower than updated UVRs from a previous ICOP study by Mulder et al (2002) for the whole transport equipment branch, but the two estimates are in the same range. Our results on comparative labour productivity in aerospace point to more rapid catch up than in the transport sector as a whole. There was a period between 1999 and 2003, when the Brazilian aerospace industry clearly outperformed the United States. However, Brazil was unable to sustain this dramatic sectoral catch up. After 2003, firms disregarded the clear signals of shrinking value added and continued to increase the number of employees. As a result Brazil once again fell behind.

Keywords: aerospace manufacturing, labour productivity growth, international comparison

JEL Codes: L62, O14, O15, O47

UNU-MERIT Working Papers ISSN 1871-9872

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