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Past Event

The productivity puzzle: How can we speed up the growth of the economy?

Past Event

After nearly a decade of strong productivity growth starting in the mid-1990s, productivity growth has slowed down over the most recent decade. Output per hour worked in the U.S. business sector has grown at only 1.3 percent per year from 2004 to 2015, and growth was even slower from 2010 to 2015 at just 0.5 percent a year. These rates are only half or less of the pace of growth achieved in the past. The United States is not alone in facing this problem, as all of the major advanced economies have also seen slow productivity growth. This slow growth has been a major cause of weak overall GDP growth, stagnation in real wages and household incomes, and it strongly impacts government revenues and the deficit.

On September 9, 2016 the Initiative on Business and Public Policy (IBPP) and the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy at Brookings hosted a forum on the policy implications of the growth slowdown. Senior Fellow Martin Baily presented an overview paper on the causes of the slowdown, followed by a panel discussion on the most effective policies to enhance productivity performance. After the panel discussion, panelists took questions from the audience.

On September 8, IBPP and the Hutchins Center hosted a series of roundtable discussions of technical issues surrounding the productivity slowdown. Read the papers and view the presentations from Thursday »



Panel Discussion

Robert J. Barro

Paul M. Warburg Professor of Economics - Harvard University

J. Bradford DeLong

Professor of Economics and Blum Center Chief Economist - University of California, Berkeley

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