The Linkages Between Productivity and Social Progress: An Introduction and Overview
In: The Review of Economic Performance and Social Progress 2002: Towards a Social Understanding of Productivity
Productivity research is Canada has traditionally focused on narrow economic issues. In our view, it has given inadequate attention to the broader ramifications of productivity, both in terms of shedding light on the importance of productivity for the advancement of various aspects of social progress and in terms of understanding the feedback mechanisms running from social conditions and factors to productivity growth. The objective of the second issue of the Review of Economic Performance and Social Progress is to attempt to fill, at least in part, the lacuna in the literature in Canada on this two-way relationship between productivity and various aspects of social progress. The 15 papers in this volume (including the introduction) address the general issue of the linkages between productivity and various aspects of social progress. The papers are organized into five sections. The three papers in the first section discuss productivity concepts and trends in Canada and OECD countries. The two papers in the second section examine the impact productivity has on government balances and natural resources and environmental sustainability. In the third section, four papers explore the relationships between population, education, health and social divergence and productivity. In the fourth section, three papers address the theme of whether productivity should be a social priority, including discussion of the attitudes of Canadians to productivity. In the fifth and final section two papers examine the relationship between social policy, inequality and productivity. The purpose of this introduction is twofold. First, it provides a detailed overview of the main findings of all chapters in the volume. Second, it provides a synthesis of what the editors see as the main themes that emerge from the different chapters, including a discussion of the implications for public policy.
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