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Productive Equity

The Twin Challenges of Reviving Productivity and Reducing Inequality

Edited by Zia Qureshi, Joel Bell, and Kemal Derviş

An agenda for economic growth and equity

In recent decades global economic productivity has slowed, while income inequality within nations has increased. The global economic pie has been growing more slowly—and more unequally—feeding the social discontent that is so evident in much of the world today. The contributors to this volume argue that the paradox of slowing productivity growth despite booming new technologies is real, not illusory.

Most discussions of these trends in productivity growth and income distribution treat them as separate problems, with independent solutions. This book by economic experts with long experience in studying the global economy and development argues that lagging productivity and growing inequality are, in fact, linked by common causes and must have common solutions. Chief among those causes are the nature of today’s technological changes and the failures of markets and policymakers to keep up with those changes. In essence, the potential benefits of technological change, which coincided with the era of accelerated globalization, have not been harnessed to foster more robust, and more inclusive, economic growth.

The editors maintain that reviving productivity growth and reducing inequality are not competing objectives for policy. Rather, they propose an integrated agenda emphasizing the synergistic nature of achieving long-term productivity growth and equity. The authors call for an agenda of “productive equity” that highlights the need for innovative policies, at both the national and international levels, that take advantage of the technological changes now reshaping markets and the world of work.

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