Productivity Perspectives
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Productivity Perspectives

Edited by Philip McCann and Tim Vorley

Productivity Perspectives offers a timely and stimulating social science view on the productivity debate, drawing on the work of the ESRC funded Productivity Insights Network. The book examines the drivers and inhibitors of UK productivity growth in the light of international evidence, and the resulting dramatic slowdown and flatlining of productivity growth in the UK. The reasons for this so-called productivity puzzle are not well understood, and this book advances explanations and insights on these issues from different disciplinary and methodological perspectives. It will be of value to all those interested in, and engaging with, the challenge of slowing productivity growth.
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Chapter 14: From silos to systems: insights and implications for productivity policy

Tim Vorley and Jen Nelles


Academic debates on productivity have traditionally been dominated by economists using growth accounting frameworks. The productivity slowdown during the last decade has especially highlighted the limitations of these orthodox approaches to explaining the productivity puzzle. In particular, many of the drivers and inhibitors of productivity growth may be related to complex causal relationships which preclude examination by standard growth accounting frameworks, and many of the other potential explanatory factors cannot be incorporated into these frameworks. While other evidence reviews in this volume reflect on the different thematic aspects of the productivity puzzle in the UK this chapter assumes a broader conceptual approach. We argue that while in-depth academic insights may help unpack individual aspects of the productivity puzzle, simply more research of this type is not the answer. Rather, if insights are to meaningfully help governments and institutions better respond to the current productivity challenges there is a compelling argument for thinking about productivity at a systems level. This chapter posits that while existing research is gradually coming to recognise the importance of the intersections to these debates, more innovative and critical thinking is required if research is to impact policy.

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