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Although generic tax cuts are providing relief in the short term, ongoing sluggish productivity growth is slowly eroding the core of the US economy. This will make the economy much more vulnerable to cyclical downturns in the long run. After all, if economic growth will continue to hover at low levels, only a modest headwind could push the economy into a recession. We also claim that sluggish productivity development in the US is not an exogenous development, but something which is affected by the decisions of policymakers.
All in all, economic policymaking is about incentives. In contrast, an innovation and education agenda forces firms and public research bodies to allocate the funds to productivity-enhancing investments, but this policy route requires more patience, as the impact will take some years to materialize. Our calculations show that fostering productivity growth by means of implementing a broad innovation, science and education agenda would lift US potential growth substantially. The upsides of such a policy shift would not be limited to solely higher potential growth.
Second, fostering economic growth by means of innovation would raise competitiveness of the American corporate sector, which provides second-order effects in terms of job opportunities for US workers in the long run. Third, an innovation and science policy agenda could be targeted to boost research on tackling global societal challenges in the field of, e.
Fourth, policies focusing on potential GDP growth have higher returns to the government in terms of tax receipts, so in the end government debt will be lower.
Lastly, the positive impact would stretch much further than US shores. It is well-known that countries can benefit from the others that are close to the technological frontier Fagerberg, ; Camaron et al. Erken calculated that between and , the impact of catching-up towards the technological leader i. Indeed, over the past decades, US technologies and innovations reshaped every-day life across the globe, ranging from the laser, the internet, smartphones, personal computers to chemotherapy.
Higher prosperity in other parts of the world due to US innovations leads to more export opportunities for US firms in the second round as well. At the moment, it could even be argued that sluggish investment by the US in science, innovation and education is one of the main culprits behind the slowdown of global productivity growth. And from this context, it becomes even more important for the US presidential election campaign, which will kick off next year, to focus on the key aspects that will shape the future of the US and global economy. Ciccone Trade and productivity.
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Make American Productivity Great Again – Background report - RaboResearch
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