Jacques Bughin, Hans‐Helmut Kotz, Jan Mischke, 22 March 2018

One stark feature of the global economy in the 21st century is the ongoing slowdown of productivity growth. This column explores the key factors behind this trend for several countries around the world. Weak demand is found to be a critical driver of the slowdown by holding back investment and changing the structure of consumption baskets, and through economies of scale effects. Although digitisation offers a potential way back, its benefits will require a strengthening of aggregate demand.

David Brackfield, Joaquim Oliveira Martins, 11 July 2009

Most narratives of the crisis start with problems in the financial sector that then spilled over into the real economy. This column looks at the real side first and shows that labour productivity growth declined significantly in the years prior to the crisis, particularly in the US construction sector. Financial markets may have failed in that they didn’t detect the deterioration of structural productivity trends in the early 2000s.

Nicholas Crafts, 11 July 2008

Standard policies to redress Europe's productivity problems keep politicians in their comfort zone: support for the “knowledge economy” and more R&D. More progress would come if they accepted and facilitated the “dark side” of productivity improvement – the exit of high-cost producers and re-deployment of labour.

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