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Culture can affect opportunities to increase productivity in different countries largely because it can reduce the willingness of workers to do what is needed to increase productivity.
As one example of this, let us imagine that we want to increase productivity by running the machinery in our factories more hours per week. In some cultures, like that of France, workers are fairly wedded to short work weeks. This would make them resistant to working longer hours. In other cultures, opposition would be greater still. Imagine, for instance, that we want to have our factory working on Sunday in a country that is full of conservative Christians. In such cases, it would be very difficult to improve productivity because cultural values would work against the attempt to do so.
As another example, let us imagine that we want to increase productivity by having qualified women work in our businesses. Now imagine that our firm is in a very traditional culture that frowns upon women and men working together. This would prevent us from taking advantage of our opportunity.
These are two examples of how culture can affect opportunities to increase productivity.
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