electronics factory workers ILO in Asia and the Pacific/Flickr

美国、中国和生产率悖论

纽黑文—20世纪80年代末,有一个所谓的生产率悖论的激烈争论——信息技术的大规模投资并没有带来可测的生产率改进。如今,这一悖论卷土重来,给美国和中国造成了一个问题,一个将在一年一度的中美战略和经济对话中出现的问题。

让我们回到1987年。这一年,诺贝尔经济学奖获得者罗伯特·索洛(Robert Solow)提出了他的著名讽刺:“计算机时代随处可见,就是无法在生产率数字中找到踪迹。”生产率悖论似乎在20世纪90年代得到了解决,当时,美国出现了蔚为壮观的生产率复兴。1991—2007年美国非农商业部门生产率年增长率为2.5%,而此前15年的趋势值为1.5%。互联网时代的好处终于实现了。关于生产率悖论的关注也烟消云散。

但人们似乎高兴得太早了。尽管经历了又一次技术革命,但生产率增长再次下降。这一回,生产率下降是全球趋势,影响最大的正是世界最大的两个经济体——美国和中国。

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