April 12, 2021

Productivity: Unlocking Canadian Potential: How Canada Can Enable Growth and Build Prosperity for Generations

Productivity is at the heart of economic growth and prosperity but is a concept poorly understood by general audiences.

The consensus view among economists is best captured in a commonly cited quote by Paul Krugman who said, “Productivity isn’t everything, but, in the long run, it is almost everything. A country’s ability to improve its standard of living over time depends almost entirely on its ability to raise its output per worker.”

This research paper deconstructs the concept of productivity—what it is and what it isn’t—explores the importance of productivity in the life of every Canadian. Specifically, this paper looks at why productivity growth
has waned in recent decades; why Canada’s productivity lags that of the US; and—informed by these lessons determine what we can do to set a foundation for greater opportunity and prosperity for the next generation.

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