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 15: Productivity policy review

Jonathan Cook, Dan Hardy and Imogen Sprackling


Through examining UK policy between 1997 and 2018, with a focus on business support, innovation, skills and regional policy, this chapter identifies three periods. The productivity agenda was explicit in the 2000s with the ‘five drivers’ framework used as a device for policy formulation and review. There was a hiatus between 2010 and 2015 when productivity was not an overarching policy objective. The productivity framework re-emerged from 2015 culminating in the Industrial Strategy, which established the ‘five foundations’. There is a perpetual churn in policy and institutions, both between and during different governments’ times in office, culminating in a new form of industrial policy-making emphasis. However, the chapter concludes that the question of how policy can be better integrated across the key factors that influence productivity remains unaddressed, and there is a need for governance and institutions that can encourage long-term thinking.

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