Conference
December 4, 2014 9:00AM
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Hayek Auditorium

Featuring Brink Lindsey, Vice President for Research, Cato Institute; Erik Brynjolfsson, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Edward Glaeser, Harvard University; Robert Gordon, Northwestern University; Dale Jorgenson, Harvard University; and Edmund Phelps, Columbia University.

The Great Recession ended over five years ago, so why does the U.S. economy remain so sluggish? Fears are mounting that growth rates well below the long-term historical trend line may now be the “new normal.” Labor-force participation has been falling, while growth in labor skills has slowed considerably. Furthermore, the main engine of innovation—the “creative destruction” of entrepreneurial dynamism—appears to be sputtering, as the rates of both gross job creation and destruction and new firm formation have been declining steadily. Meanwhile, some experts even argue that the low-hanging fruit of major transformative breakthroughs has already been plucked and that, consequently, technological progress itself is winding down.

The purpose of this conference is to assess the long-term growth outlook of the U.S. economy and explore what policy changes might be needed to arrest and reverse the growth slowdown. We will bring together top economists and other experts for a full-day conference on these vital issues, with the first three sessions devoted to diagnosis of the key problems and the final two sessions focused on prescriptions for growth-enhancing policy reforms.

In conjunction with the conference, the Cato Institute is hosting a special online forum on reviving economic growth. We have reached out to leading economists and policy experts and challenged them to answer the following question: “If you could wave a magic wand and make one or two policy or institutional changes to brighten the U.S. economy’s long-term growth prospects, what would you change and why?” Their response essays will be made available here in the run-up to the conference.

9:00 – 9:15 a.m.

Welcoming Remarks

Brink Lindsey, Cato Institute

9:15 – 10:30 a.m.


Download a video of the Welcoming Remarks and Panel 1
Download a podcast of the Welcoming Remarks and Panel 1
 

Panel 1: Forecasting the Long-Term Growth Outlook

Dale Jorgenson, Harvard University
John Fernald, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
Martin Baily, Brookings Institution

10:30 – 10:45 a.m.

Break

10:45 a.m. – Noon


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Download a podcast of Panel 2
 

Panel 2: The Future of Innovation: Stagnation, Singularity, or Something in Between?

Erik Brynjolfsson, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Robert Gordon, Northwestern University
Stephen Oliner, American Enterprise Institute

Noon – 1:15 p.m.

Lunch

1:15 – 2:30 p.m.


Download a video of Panel 3
Download a podcast of Panel 3
 

Panel 3: Is Economic Dynamism in Decline?

John Haltiwanger, University of Maryland
Amar Bhidé, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University
Alex Tabarrok, George Mason University

2:30 – 2:45 p.m.

Break

2:45 – 4:00 p.m.


Download a video of Panel 4
Download a podcast of Panel 4
 

Panel 4: What Is to Be Done? (part one)

Edmund Phelps, Columbia University
Edward Glaeser, Harvard University
Brad DeLong, University of California Berkeley

4:00 – 5:15 p.m.


Download a video of Panel 5
Download a podcast of Panel 5
 

Panel 5: What Is to Be Done? (part two)

Susan Dudley, George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center
Michael Mandel, Progressive Policy Institute
Bowman Cutter, Roosevelt Institute
Robert Strom, Kauffman Foundation

5:15 – 5:30 p.m.

Closing Remarks

Brink Lindsey, Cato Institute

If you can’t make it to the Cato Institute, watch this event live online at www.cato.org/live and follow @CatoEvents on Twitter to get future event updates, live streams, and videos from the Cato Institute.

Attend in Person

Online registration for this event is now closed. If you are interested in registering for this event, please email events [at] cato.org or call (202) 789-5203.

Reception to follow