Is the UK Productivity Slowdown Unprecedented?

We estimate trend UK labour productivity growth using a Hodrick-Prescott filter method. We use the results to compare downturns where the economy fell below its pre-existing trend. We find that the current productivity slowdown has resulted in productivity being 19.7 per cent below the pre-2008 trend path in 2018. This is nearly double the previous worst productivity shortfall ten years after the start of a downturn. On this criterion the slowdown is unprecedented in the past 250 years.

Teaching assistants, computers and classroom management

Many students still leave school without a good grasp of basic literacy, despite the negative implications for future educational and labour market outcomes. We evaluate how resources may be used within classrooms to reinforce the teaching of literacy. Specifically, teaching assistants are trained to deliver a tightly structured package of materials to groups of young children aged 5–6. The training is randomly allocated between and within schools. Within schools, teaching assistants are randomly assigned to receive training in either computer-aided instruction or the paper equivalent.