Boosting Productivity to Grow the Economy

Blog Post
Wednesday, September 11, 2019

On Facing the Future, Concord Coalition Executive Director Robert L. Bixby joined me and President of the Information, Technology and Innovation Foundation Dr. Robert Atkinson to discuss ITIF’s new plan that calls for and outlines an increased federal funding commitment to research and development.

“While raising taxes and cutting spending is important, sometimes that’s hard to do,” said Atkinson. “But one place we can and should be focusing on is reducing the debt-to-GDP ratio.” 

“The evidence shows very, very clearly that one of the principal ways to do that is by driving productivity growth,” he added. “The best way to do that is through technological innovation.” 

Atkinson also explained that the path to increased productivity involves increasing federal incentives and funding for research and development. “A one percent increase in R&D stock, the amount of R&D that companies can use, raises productivity by 2.3 percent.” 

Regarding concerns over job displacement as industries develop and become more technologically advanced, he said there is a correlation between periods of high productivity and low unemployment. He added that when you have a high-productivity economy, employers, employees and the government are more confident and engaging in more investment. 

“We are not going to run out of jobs … the issue that we should be concerned about is … economic dislocation,” Atkinson said. The key is making sure workers have the skills or capabilities for new or different roles. 

On September 12, Concord will be partnering with ITIF on an event in Washington, D.C. unveiling the full plan and engaging in a panel discussion with its authors. 

And you can hear more of this conversation on “Facing the Future.” I host the program each week on WKXL, NHTalkRadio.com (N.H.), and it is also available via podcast. Join me and my guests as we discuss issues relating to national fiscal policy with budget experts, industry leaders, elected officials and candidates for public office. Past broadcasts are available here. You can now subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google Play or through RSS.