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Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Media and the productivity debate

A few days ago, along with many other countries, the US has changed the way GDP is calculated. Details of the news as reported by The Economist can be seen here. The change is significant: about $560 billion or about 3% of the actual US GDP, which corresponds to roughly the size of the Swedish economy. What is really cool however, is that most of this increase in GDP comes from spending on innovations (patents) and copyrighted material, essentially from media.

This change should put in a totally different perspective the current debate over the loss of US productivity. Clearly, correctly accounting for these new, value-creating activities should boost the productivity of the US economy, especially if we compare it to the previous (so-called 'golden') period between WWII and 1970. The share of these activities has become much higher compared to the '50-60s period and thus, the productivity slowdown should be mitigated. The new measures should also provide better account for the contribution of IT to the economy, which was largely missed when working with the old measures implemented in 1945. I am curious to see to what extent will the media sector 'save' the productivity of the US economy?

1 comment:

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