In China, the authorities feel compelled to react to disappointing growth figures. Their responses create uncertainty and increase market volatility (photo: dpa)

Productivity trend suggests policymakers should stop obsessing about GDP

Economic growth around the world is below expectations. In particular, the Western economies are not generating the kind of recovery needed to solve the problems accumulated over the past decades. Yet despite missing forecasts, the gross domestic product figures themselves are not dismal. In 2015, GDP growth will be better than 2 per cent in the United States and well above 4 per cent in the developing countries. Both sets of data will probably improve next year.

Future growth scenarios depend heavily on the pace of productivity gains, which have been declining for decades in the developed Western economies. However, measuring productivity is a difficult task, and the methodological p...

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Professor Enrico Colombatto
Should we regard the time office workers spend on social media during working hours as a productivity loss, because less work is being done? Or is it a gain, since people have more fun in the workplace, enjoy a richer social life and thus improve the quality of their existence, which can be regarded as a kind of ‘output?’
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