Introduction: Productivity: Past, Present and Future

Pub. Date
06 February, 2019

There continues to be considerable discussion in all of polite society about the causes of the productivity puzzle. Commissions and Inquiries have been set up and answers sought with the most recent, the Industrial Strategy Council, having its inaugural meeting in November 2018. The National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) has long championed the study of aggregate, sectoral, firm-level and regional productivity, as well as international comparisons of secular trends in productivity performance, indeed we published our first work on this topic in 1948 by Rostas on The Comparative Productivity in British and American Industry (CUP). Disappointing recent performance in TFP and labour productivity weakness has become one of the
most striking characteristics of the UK’s recent economic history. Output per hour worked grew by around 0.5 per cent per quarter on average in the decade prior to 2008, and has been broadly flat over the past decade, with implications for earnings, household income and macroeconomic management (see Chadha, 2017).