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Why is productivity slowing down?

Goldin, Ian and Koutroumpis, Pantelis and Lafond, François and Winkler, Julian (2020): Why is productivity slowing down?

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Abstract

The recent decline in aggregate labor productivity growth in leading economies has been widely described as a puzzle, even a paradox, leading to extensive research into possible explanations. Our review confirms the magnitude of the slowdown and finds that it is largely driven by a decline in total factor productivity and capital deepening. Disaggregation reveals that a significant part of the slowdown is due to sectors that experienced the large benefits from ICTs in the previous period, and that an increasing gap between frontier and laggard firms suggests slower technology diffusion and increasing misallocation of factors. We evaluate explanations that attempt to reconcile the paradox of slowing productivity growth and technological change, including mismeasurement, implementation lags for technologies, and creative destruction processes.

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