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Improving Productivity--Opening the Black Box


  • Ken Mayhew
  • Andy Neely


Hourly productivity levels in the UK still remain behind those in some competitor countries. The government devotes much policy attention to enhancing productivity and continues to emphasise its five drivers--investment, innovation, skills, enterprise, and competition. This article argues that it is investment broadly defined that is the key to sustained productivity improvement. The emphasis should be on improving productivity simultaneously with improving the quality of production. Only thus will the gains be widely shared. In achieving these aims there are two prerequisites for policy-makers. The first is to ensure better coordination of policy than appears to be currently achieved by the present departmental structures in Whitehall. The second is to recognize fully the long and complex chain of causation that can be triggered by pulling on one policy lever. Such complexity can only be fully understood by more research on what actually goes on inside the black box of the organization. Copyright 2006, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Ken Mayhew & Andy Neely, 2006. "Improving Productivity--Opening the Black Box," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(4), pages 445-456, Winter.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:oxford:v:22:y:2006:i:4:p:445-456

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Petr Hanel, 2007. "Productivity and innovation: an overview of the issues," Cahiers de recherche 07-22, Departement d'Economique de l'École de gestion à l'Université de Sherbrooke.
    2. Ioannis Bournakis & Sushanta Mallick & David Kernohan & Dimitris A.Tsouknidis, 2013. "Measuring Firm-Level Productivity Convergence in the UK: The Role of Taxation and R&D Investment," Working Papers 45, Queen Mary, University of London, School of Business and Management, Centre for Globalisation Research.
    3. repec:eee:injoed:v:56:y:2017:i:c:p:11-27 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Carmichael, Fiona & Ercolani, Marco & Kang, Lili & Maimaiti, Yasheng & O'Mahony, Mary & Peng, Fei & Robinson, Catherine, 2009. "Training, education and productivity," MPRA Paper 39899, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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