Distinguished Lecture on Economics in Government: Lessons from Past Productivity Booms
Abstract:A number of observers argue that the present era of robust trend productivity growth will soon come to an end. Others contend that the potential gains to productivity from the technological advances associated with the computer revolution are far from complete. In assessing the likelihood of these alternative outcomes, one should recognize that periods of strong trend productivity growth, although perhaps novel to many of us, are not new to the U.S. economy. In particular, three earlier periods of strong trend productivity growth stand out from the historical record as especially worthy of further scrutiny for the lessons they may offer regarding the current episode: the late 1800s from roughly the end of the Civil War to around 1890; the decade or so between the end of World War I and the onset of the Great Depression; and the period from about 1950 to the early 1970s.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: May 1, 2004
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