Productivity Measurement crucial in a modern economy

Wednesday, 20 November 2013  Features

"Productivity is one of the most important measures we have in order to plan and mould our economy," said Professor Denise Doiron​, Head of the School of Economics, at UNSW Business School. "Indeed, knowledge of productivity growth enables economists to better forecast growth in the economy as a whole. This allows policy makers to better plan for the future."

She was speaking in advance of the International Association for Research in Income and Wealth (IARIW) and UNSW conference on Productivity Measurement, Drivers and Trends.

Philip Lowe, the Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia will open the conference with a keynote address on "The Australian Economy and Productivity Growth".

The conference is organised by the Australian School of Business' Professor Kevin Fox, who is Director of the Centre for Applied Economic Research. He said "I am honoured to have been asked to organise a special conference for the Association on productivity, a key driver of income and welfare. We are fortunate to have an outstanding program, featuring some of the foremost academics in the field, along with the active involvement an impressive range of representatives from government, industry and international agencies. The diversity of representation on the program illustrates the broad interest in productivity growth, deriving from its ability to raise incomes and firm profits, conserve natural resources and the environment, and provide more leisure possibilities for workers."

Professor Doiron said productivity measurement is important on all levels, and the conference will examine many ways of measuring it and increasing productivity. "Think of a business manager deciding where to put more resources or where to focus restructuring efforts. They will want to know how efficient the various business units are and will want to calculate various measures of productivity to make this evaluation. Even in the public sector where objectives may be different (e.g. providing a certain level of service to society), the decision on how to allocate resources or to cut costs will depend to a large extent on an evaluation of the productivity of the various units."

The IARIW-UNSW Special Conference is supported by the Australian School of Business, the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the Productivity Commission and the Australian Research Council, and features presentations by Philip Lowe (Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of Australia), Jonathan Haskel (Imperial College), Nicholas Oulton (London School of Economics), Erwin Diewert (University of British Columbia and UNSW) and Fred Hilmer (President and Vice Chancellor, UNSW).

Date: November 26-27, 2013
Location: Sebel Pier One, 11 Hickson Rd, Dawes Point, Sydney

The IARIW-UNSW Special Conference is of interest to engineers, social scientists and statisticians as well as economists. It will be followed by the annual CAER Economic Measurement Group Workshop, 28-29 November 2013, with a focus on price indexes and other measurement issues.

Media contact: Julian Lorkin: 02 9385 9887