European Productivity Agency1952 (Paris [France]) - 1962 (Paris [France])
Agence européenne de productivité
Since its creation in 1948, the Organisation for European Economic Cooperation (OEEC) drew constant attention to the disparity between the development of productivity in the United States economy and that in the economies of European member countries. During 1948-52, the so-called pre-European Productivity Agency period, the OEEC launched various productivity campaigns. In order to deal with problems of productivity more effectively, the OEEC Economic Policy Committee Working Party No.3 (Group of Experts) was discontinued in 1952 and the OEEC Productivity and Applied Research Committee was established. The task of the new Committee was to study how to improve methods of production and distribution.
In 1953 it was necessary to enlarge the productivity programme and here the European Productivity Agency (EPA) was established. The EPA had two main functions: 1) to be a clearing house, to provide the national productivity bodies and other institutions with information and other services, 2) to be a centre for study and discussion designed to guide European efforts towards a continuing improvement in productivity and in the study of the social and economic consequences of technological development. The major activities of the Agency were: Management education, dissemination of production management techniques, the trade union programme and the promotion of improvement in agricultural advisory services.
The Marshall Plan had been a vehicle for the "cult of productivity" in the firm. A productivity programme was resumed in 1952 by a European Productivity Agency set up under OEEC auspices and largely financed by the United States. Over 3000 specialists and hundreds of farmers, organised into more than 500 teams from 15 different countries, visited American factories and farms.;
The EPA was defined as a quasi-independent body within the OEEC. The structure of the EPA was composed of the Council, the PRA Committee, the Secretary-General and the Advisory Board. The Agency was wound up in 1960. After its liquidation, substantial programmes of the EPA were transfered to three major committees. EPA activities concerned with manpower and social questions were shifted to the OEEC Manpower Committee. The programmes in the agricultural and food sector were moved to the OEEC Food and Agriculture Committee and the special committee to be created in the field of fisheries to the newly created Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Some of the activities concerned with growth in industry and distribution were transferred to the Industrial Expansion and Distribution Committee.