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May 3, 2024

Productivity gains: anyone for a further 10 trillion dollars?

Tarek Issaoui
Chef Economiste et Responsable des processus de gestion

To quote Heraclites, if “no man ever steps in the same river twice”,the economy does occasionally face the same opposing currents. Productivity gains are a recurring issue, if not an enigma, in the field of economic sciences: why do we go through long periods of apathy, despite evident technological progress?Are we stuck in a phase of “secular stagnation” with no obvious end in sight?

Written by Tarek Issaoui, Head of Macroeconomic Research

For years, automation and algorithmizing have been growing at a fast pace, but with no visible effects on the “total factor productivity” (the term used by economists to describe the value produced from identical labour units and capital stock). Economist Robert Solow famously said in 1987 that “the computer age was everywhere except for the productivity statistics”. Echoing this observation, this same question is now being raised almost forty years later. Replace “computer” with “artificial intelligence” and you will even come up with a catchy headline for an article."

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Productivity gains: anyone for a further 10 trillion dollars?

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