Robert J. Gordon is one of the world’s most influential economists. He has attracted worldwide attention from academics, print media, and the blogosphere by his controversial analysis predicting that future economic growth in the U. S. will be a mere fraction of its historic rate. He was selected for the Politico 50, those shaping the political debate in 2016 and on Bloomberg’s Fifty Most Influential 2016 list. In 2013 he was selected one of Bloomberg’s Top 10 Most Influential Thinkers.
In his acclaimed and best-selling 2016 book, The Rise and fall of American Growth, Bob argues that the true driver of economic growth over the last century was a series of one-time inventions whose impact has come and passed. Electricity, internal combustion engine, running water, indoor toilets, communications, entertainment, chemicals, petroleum — these created a wave of growth unmatched in human history. But they have had their effect: they have created all the U.S. growth they ever will. And the current wave of online and mobile innovations, by contrast, will never create the same sort of boom in growth that those more fundamental industrial innovations did.
What’s more, the U.S. is facing six devastating factors that will slow any growth that could come from new innovations: demography, education, inequality, globalisation, energy/environment, and debt. Between the loss of life-changing innovation and the drag of these six « headwinds », U.S. growth could fall below 0.5 percent per year for decades.
This new research joins his earlier studies showing that conventional data greatly understate the welfare of Europe relative to the U.S.; why European productivity growth has lagged that of the U.S. since 1995; why U.S. income inequality has widened since 1975; and why unemployment increased so much relative to the behaviour of output in the 2008-09 U.S. recession.
Robert’s books include Macroeconomics, twelfth edition, which has been translated into eight languages, and three scholarly books: The Measurement of Durable Goods Prices, The American Business Cycle, and The Economics of New Goods. His book of collected essays is Productivity Growth, Inflation, and Unemployment.
Robert J. Gordon is the Stanley G. Harris Professor in the Social Sciences and Professor of Economics at Northwestern University. He is a Fellow of the Econometric Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a Distinguished Fellow of the American Economic Association. He is a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research and a member of the NBER’s Business Cycle Dating Committee, a Research Fellow of the Centre for Economic Policy Research (London) and the Observatoire Français des Conjunctures Economiques (OFCE, Paris), and an economic adviser to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.