THE SEVENTH MEETING of the Brookings Panel on Microeconomics was held in Washington in June 1993. The conference papers examined U.S. industrial competitiveness and international comparisons of productivity. Bart van Ark and Dirk Pilat estimated and compared the productivities of the manufacturing sectors of Germany, Japan, and the United States. Martin Neil Baily showed that regulation and the extent of competition affect the productivities of service industries in the United States, Europe, and Japan. Robert Lawrence and Matthew Slaughter made the case that foreign trade is not the reason for the widening of the wage distribution among U.S. workers. Richard Caves and Matthew Krepps examined the hypothesis that companies may suffer from "fat," where they hold too many nonproduction workers. Bronwyn Hall found that the return to research and development (R&D) fell in the 1980s, and she explored the reasons for this. In the final paper Paul Romer presented a new proposal for a voluntary levy on companies to fund technology development.