It’s Simple: To Compete in the Global Economy, Solve Fiscal Problems, and Raise Living Standards, We Need More Productivity

Robert D. Atkinson July 8, 2017
July 8, 2017

Speaking at Les Rencontres Economiques d’Aix-en-Provence, Rob Atkinson argued we need to accelerate productivity growth to raise standards of living. He explained that sluggish productivity is a particular problem for France, which was gaining ground on the United states from the mid-1970s through the mid-1990s but has been falling further behind ever since. Giving up is not an option, Atkinson said, nor is giving in to “robo-phobia”; automation never has led to a world without jobs and never will. But while productivity growth is essential, many neoclassical economists think there is little government can do about it. Atkinson argued they are wrong: Governments can drive productivity by supporting innovation, supporting investment in infrastructure, and supporting private-sector investment, among other steps.