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Creating Economic Opportunity for More Americans Through Productivity Growth

The U.S. economy in recent years has been characterized by slow average productivity growth and increasing productivity dispersion within industries. In this essay, author Chad Syverson discusses research into the potential causes of these patterns and outlines several policy changes that would yield expected productivity and wage benefits under general conditions.

Introduction: The Need to Expand Economic Opportunity

The pursuit of economic opportunity for all Americans is as important to the health of the country’s economy as it is to the strength of its democracy. The promise that hard work and determination will yield economic success is a central American ideal, but it has been called into question as secular economic forces and institutional changes have reshaped the American economy and had an uneven impact on Americans’ ability to prosper.