This paper empirically investigates the development of cross-country differences in energy- and labour productivity. The analysis is performed at a detailed sectoral level for 14 OECD countries, covering the period 1970-1997. A σ-convergence analysis reveals that the development over time of the cross-country variation in productivity performance differs across sectors as well as across different levels of aggregation. Both patterns of convergence as well as divergence are found. Cross-country variation of productivity levels is typically larger for energy than for labour. A β-convergence analysis provides support for the hypothesis that in most sectors lagging countries tend to catch up with technological leaders, in particular in terms of energy productivity. Moreover, the results show that convergence is conditional, meaning that productivity levels converge to country-specific steady states. Energy prices and wages are shown to positively affect energy- and labour-productivity growth, respectively. We also find evidence for the importance of economies of scale, whereas the investment share, openness and specialization play only a modest role in explaining cross-country variation in energy- and labour-productivity growth. © 2006 Springer Science+Business Media, Inc.