Social Policy and Productivity: Anybody Here See Any Levers?
In: The Review of Economic Performance and Social Progress 2002: Towards a Social Understanding of Productivity
AbstractIn this chapter, William Watson challenges Heath's interpretation of the benefits of productivity growth, but agrees with Richard Harris' views on the state of our knowledge about the potential contribution of social programs to productivity growth. Watson tackles Heath's assessment of the social benefits of productivity growth directly, starting with the issues of social inequality and poverty. He argues that there has been no flagging in redistributive effort in Canada and he challenges what he sees as Heath's preference for enhancing public expenditures, emphasizing the scope for government failures and of the possibility that higher tax rates in the contemporary period have increased the marginal cost of public funds. Even if one were able to resolve the question of the appropriate balance between the public and private sectors, Watson believes that the case for higher productivity would remain compelling. Without powerful analytical guidance, Watson concludes that reform of social policy will inevitably be guided primarily by intuition, politics and hunches. In these circumstances, he counsels modesty in aspirations.
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This item is provided by Centre for the Study of Living Standards & The Institutute for Research on Public Policy in its series The Review of Economic Performance and Social Progress with number v:2:y:2002:ww.
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Find related papers by JEL classification:
- O47 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Measurement of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence
- J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
- I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
- H51 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Health
- H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education
- D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
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