The global competitiveness of a country’s workforce and improvements in its living standards are integrally linked to its productivity growth. Consequently, understanding the sources of productivity growth, documenting the impacts of trade and other structural changes on productivity growth, and accurately measuring productivity are important for policy.


  • How do public policies and private sector workplace practices affect productivity growth?
  • How does public v. private ownership affect productivity?
  • What is the impact of international trade on productivity?
  • How has the growth of globalization complicated productivity measurement and other economic statistics? What can be done to improve the data?

Selected Institute Research

Offshoring Bias in U.S. Manufacturing
Susan N. Houseman, W.E. Upjohn Institute
Christopher Kurz, Federal Reserve Board
Paul Lengermann, Federal Reserve Board
Benjamin Mandel, Federal Reserve Board
Journal of Economic Perspectives 25(2): 111-132, 2011

Offshoring and Import Price Measurement
Susan Houseman, Upjohn Institute
Survey of Current Business (February): 7-11, 2011

Not All Productivity Gains are the Same. Here's Why.
Susan Houseman, Upjohn Institute
What Matters/McKinsey&Company June 1, 2011

Measurement Issues Arising from the Growth of Globalization
Conference partially supported by W.E. Upjohn Institute
Susan Houseman, Upjohn Institute, Organizer
Washington, DC, November 6-7, 2009

     “Portion of Gains Could Be an Illusion,” Wall Street Journal, May 6, 2010
     “Economists Seek to Fix a Defect in Data That Overstates the Nation’s
     Vigor,” New York Times , November 8, 2009

“Outsourcing, Offshoring, and Productivity Measurement in U.S. Manufacturing”
Susan Houseman, Upjohn Institute
International Labour Review 146(1-2): 61-80, 2007

Understanding the Contributions of Reallocation to Productivity Growth: Lessons from a Comparative Firm-Level Analysis
J. David Brown, U.S. Census Bureau
John Earle, Upjohn Institute
Upjohn Institute Working Paper No. 08-141, August 2008

More Institute research about productivity