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Economic Commentary

Unbalanced Growth and the U.S. Productivity Slowdown

The single most important factor in determining a nation’s standard of living in the long run is the productivity of its resources (primarily labor and capital). If maintained over time, even relatively small productivity growth rates can have large effects on living standards. For example, if productivity grew at a moderate 2.0 percent each year, the overall standard of living would double in only 35 years.

The views authors express in Economic Commentary are theirs and not necessarily those of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland or the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. The series editor is Tasia Hane. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. This paper and its data are subject to revision; please visit for updates.

Suggested Citation

Bauer, Paul. 1992. “Unbalanced Growth and the U.S. Productivity Slowdown.” Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Economic Commentary 1/1/1992.