Published on 25 June 2021
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The idea of productivity

A scoping paper for The Productivity Institute on knowledge capital

Ideas fundamentally drive productivity, and hence living standards, over the long term. Ideas can contribute to innovative products and services, or to new ways of organising production and consumption. Knowledge capital, or the accumulation of ideas and know-how, therefore plays an important role in productivity growth, from research and inventions that are ultimately commercialised, to the way firms are organised and interact in markets, to the flows of knowledge in society. The production of knowledge itself is part of this wide scope of knowledge capital, which creates endogeneity, or feedback loops. This means there is the potential for significant increasing returns to scale when new technologies are implemented. It also underlines the potential barriers created by co-ordination problems. A knowledge-based economy is one of virtuous or vicious circles, with policies playing an important co-ordinating role. This paper highlights key parts of the literature and sets out future areas for research.


Diane Coyle 2018

Professor Diane Coyle

Bennett Professor of Public Policy and Co-Director of the Bennett Institute for Public Policy

Professor Coyle co-directs the Institute with Professor Kenny. She is heading research under the progress and productivity themes. Biography Professor Dame Diane Coyle is the Bennett Professor of Public Policy...

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