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Welcome to Productivity Matters

Written by: Gavin Wallis, Head of Research, Industrial Strategy Council and Andy Haldane, Chair, Industrial Strategy Council

Welcome to Productivity Matters, the new blog of the Industrial Strategy Council.  Our blog will contain posts from Council members, guest bloggers and members of the Council’s research team. It will cover analysis, research, data and debate on topics of relevance to boosting the productivity and wages of people throughout the UK. And specifically how industrial policy can, and has, contributed to those improvements.

Don’t be put off by the words “productivity” and “Industrial Strategy”. Over time, we hope our blog will try and explain exactly what these are and, most importantly, why they matter.  Most importantly of all, we want this blog to go well beyond those economic terms, by engaging with the topical issues that matter most to people’s lives:  personal well-being and “happiness”, the importance of good quality work, the pivotal issue of climate change, and the economic value of good health. 

We start with two blog posts. The first discusses the Council’s work on spatial or regional differences in economic performance - why some areas of the UK have prospered while others have fallen behind. This is an issue that has risen rapidly up the policy agenda in recent times – the so-called “levelling up” agenda.  The work brings together existing evidence on the nature and causes of regional differences in economic performance and highlights the need for greater focus and continuity in place-based policies.

We also kick-off with a guest blogger. Dani Rodrik is a leading US academic economist whose research covers globalisation and trade, economic growth, and the political economy. Dani makes the case for a new style of industrial policy. An industrial policy that moves away from the tradition of supporting firms and sectors (often manufacturing) seen as likely to generate economic growth to one that is focused on green and employment-friendly technologies. Or, put more simply, supporting the creation of good green jobs.

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