OECD Study on the Future of Productivity


July 9, 2015, 12:00 AM EDT
Peterson Institute for International Economics, Washington, DC

Catherine L. Mann (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) and Jason Furman (Council of Economic Advisers)

Event Summary

Catherine L. Mann, chief economist of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) presented her groundbreaking study The Future of Productivity at the Peterson Institute on July 9, 2015. Jason Furman, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, shared his thoughts on current productivity puzzles, including the Council's views of the productivity trend in the United States.

It is now widely recognized that productivity growth in the advanced economies slowed over the 2000s, partly due to a breakdown in the diffusion of frontier innovations to other firms. The financial crisis exacerbated the problem but is not the sole cause nor explains the persistence of the slowdown. Using micro-level data, the OECD study provides original robust tracking of the channels of technological diffusion and offers new policy approaches to address the challenge.

Catherine Mann was named OECD chief economist and head of the Economics Department in October 2014, after having taught as the Rosenberg Professor of Global Finance at Brandeis University. During 1997–2011 she was a senior fellow and then visiting fellow at the Peterson Institute. Earlier in her career, Mann served as a senior international economist at the President's Council of Economic Advisors in the White House and worked as a special assistant to the vice-president for development economics and chief economist at the World Bank. She also spent 13 years at the Federal Reserve Board as a senior economist and assistant director in the International Finance Division.

Jason Furman was confirmed by the Senate on August 1, 2013, as the 28th chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers. In this role, he serves as President Obama's chief economist and a member of the Cabinet. Furman has served President Obama since the beginning of his administration, previously holding the position of principal deputy director of the National Economic Council and assistant to the President. He held a variety of posts in public policy and research before joining the Obama administration, including senior staff positions at both the Council of Economic Advisers and National Economic Council during the Clinton administration and also at the World Bank. Furman was previously a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and also was a visiting professor at New York University's Wagner Graduate School of Public Policy.

Event Materials

Presentations: Catherine L. Mann [pdf] | Jason Furman [pdf]