Edited by Philip McCann and Tim Vorley
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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