Quality of road construction projects in Sweden between 1990 and 2010
It has been reported that productivity developments in construction are slow compared to other sectors. Measuring productivity is however not easy and it might have been underestimated due to deficiencies in the index that is used when the value added in current prices is converted into value added at constant prices. A central problem when deflating nominal prices is that the deflation should only take away price changes for identical products and not price changes related to quality changes and improvements necessitated by new environmental conditions and legislation as well as demand for higher safety. The aim of this project is to help fill this gap by looking at the quality changes over time in road construction. A combination of comparative studies and interviews with practitioners from public and private sectors that are involved in road construction projects were conducted. It was found that there had been both direct quality changes in the roads, primarily to improve safety on the roads and for noise protection, and indirect quality changes related to building in more difficult circumstances because of giving higher weight to other social objectives, especially environmental objectives. As these quality increases are not taken into account when productivity is measured, productivity improvements could be underestimated by around 1% per year.