Productivity Growth Is Slower Than You Think. Should You Be Worried?

November 6th, 2017

Myron Scholes Forum, October 30th, 2017

Professor Chad Syverson, J. Baum Harris Professor of Economics at Chicago Booth

Despite the rapid spread and high utilization of new technologies like smartphones, search engines, and social networking sites, the US and other major economies around the world have been experiencing slow measured productivity growth for more than a decade. Some have proposed this this reflects a measurement problem—that standard economic statistics are not up to the task of measuring the impact of these transformative technologies. I show that, in several different ways, the data do not support this ‘mismeasurement hypothesis.’ The productivity growth slowdown is real and costly. I explore prospects for future productivity growth and ask whether current nascent technologies might break the world out of its slow-growth slump.

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