By Romain Duval, Giuseppe Nicoletti, and Fabrizio Zampolli

January 8, 2018

Auto worker in Mexico: weak productivity has been a problem even before the global financial crisis (photo: Henry Romero/Newscom).

Almost ten years after the onset of the global financial crisis productivity growth remains anaemic in advanced economies despite very easy monetary conditions, casting doubts on the sustainability of the cyclical recovery. The productivity slowdown started well before the crisis, which then amplified the problem. To what extent can this slowdown be ascribed to policies and financial factors, including loose monetary policy prior to 2008, corporate and bank balance sheet vulnerabilities, and the exceptional monetary and financial policy responses to the crisis?

Together with policymakers and top scholars in the fields of finance and productivity, the Bank for International Settlements, the International Monetary Fund and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, supported by the Global Forum on Productivity, will seek to address this question with a conference on Weak Productivity: The Role of Financial Factors and Policies held at OECD Headquarters in Paris, France on January 10 and 11. As the organizers of this conference, our goal is to stimulate and inform the policy debate, as well as open promising avenues for further research.

Conference highlights include lectures by Philippe Aghion (College de France and London School of Economics) and Luigi Zingales (University of Chicago Booth School of Business) as well as a panel discussion featuring Claudio Borio (Head of the Monetary and Economic Department at the Bank for International Settlements), Karolina Ekholm (State Secretary of the Swedish Ministry of Finance) and Maurice Obstfeld (Chief Economist at the International Monetary Fund) (follow the live webcast here).

Among other things, the panel will focus on whether accommodative monetary policies have supported or instead hindered productivity growth, and draw implications for the course of monetary policy.

Moreover, authors will present selected research papers in three sessions dedicated to the following three questions:

(1) Are credit and capital are misallocated between firms and industries, and if so, could policy reforms unleash significant productivity gains?

(2) Have financial factors also affected productivity growth within existing firms, as well as the entry of new firms and the exit of weak ones?

(3) How have financial systems and policies, as well as monetary policies, contributed to productivity growth?

Read the papers and join us via the webcasts of the panel discussion and on Twitter #FinProd2018.