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Growth

The Growth programme studies the determinants of productivity and innovation. Research looks at new technologies, management practices, investment, R&D, skills, competition and regulation of labour and product markets.

As Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman wrote: "Productivity isn't everything, but, in the long run, it is almost everything. A country's ability to improve its standard of living over time depends almost entirely on its ability to raise its output per worker."

Our programme has researched the determinants of productivity empirically, focusing on the role of new technologies, management practices, investment, R&D, skills, competition and regulation of labour and product markets in shaping innovation and productivity both in the private and public sectors. There is a strong focus on linking empirical findings to practical policy and economic theory.

Detailed analysis of the evidence on the determinants of productivity has helped inform the options available to policymakers in dealing with the UK's laggard productivity performance. This was set out in two LSE Growth Commissions and their reports and continues in our work on industrial policy.

In looking at productivity in both the private and public sector we have discovered wide variations in productivity across firms and organisations, even within narrowly defined sectors. To get at the causes of this the programme has, since 2004, conducted the world's first survey of management practices and their impact on firm productivity by carrying out in-depth interviews of over 20,000 firms in 35 countries (the World Management Survey). Organisations such as the UK's Office for National Statistics, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the World Bank and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, have incorporated elements of the CEP's survey into their own surveys and we partnered with the US Census Bureau to generate the Management and Organizational Practices Survey (MOPS) now in its third wave and emulated by 10 other countries around the world. Surveys have also been conducted of hospitals and schools.

While the quantity of economic growth matters, so does its quality.

Economic growth in the past was associated with spectacular increases in greenhouse gas emissions. If we want to avoid catastrophic climate change, the global economy must embark on a less emission-intensive growth plan going forward. Much of this will depend on the development and adoption of new "clean" technologies. A core theme of the programme is an understanding of the drivers and barriers of this "clean transition".

Economic growth can also be destructive if it is not equitable. Much of the global growth in recent years benefited those at the top of the income distribution while leaving many behind. The programme explores why that is the case (eg. is it because of the emergence of superstar firms?) and what might be required to make growth more equitable (eg. can we develop policies to find the "lost Einsteins"?)


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