This pathbreaking volume conveys the “state of the art” of contemporary research on productivity growth and international competitiveness–arguably the most important problems facing contemporary economics. Adopting a worldwide perspective that features comparative analyses of both industrialized and developing countries, the book assembles papers from an international roster of leading scholars who cover a wide range of complementary topics and approaches. A number of the papers attempt to increase the clarity of thinking about “competitiveness” by developing formal definitions of the concept and relating it to more conventional economics concepts such as productivity. Some provide a macroeconomic perspective whereas others compare cross-sections of individual industries across countries or analyze the efficacy of industrial policies to promote competitiveness. Among the common themes, which are highlighted in the editor’s overview chapter, are the measurement of labor and
total factor productivity, accounting for the sources of productivity growth, the use of purchasing power parity indexes in international comparisons of productivity levels, the worldwide productivity slowdown, the extent of productivity convergence among developed economies, the primacy of exchange rate fluctuations in short-term movements of competitiveness since the early 1970’s, and the causes of the apparent loss of U.S. competitiveness during the 1980’s.