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.