Professor Tony Venables discusses why productivity matters now more than ever

As a fellow of the British Academy and Econometric Society our Research Director Tony Venables offers a huge depth of knowledge to The Productivity Institute – a newly established institute working directly with researchers, policymakers and businesses to better understand, measure, and enable improvements in UK productivity.

In his opening video as Research Director for the Institute Tony explains to us what productivity is, the economic challenges we face, and the important role it will play in supporting the UK economy.

What is Productivity?

Productivity is about using our resources effectively. This is principally human resources, so ensuring that individuals are productively employed and able to fill their full potential. But it’s not only human resources, its natural resources as well. Productivity requires that these are not used wastefully or unsustainably.

Why does productivity matter?

Prosperity turns on the value of what we produce. We cannot, sustainably, earn or spend more than that, so being productive is the key to long-run prosperity. It’s also the route to job creation; no-one wants to create jobs that will be unproductive. It’s now more important than ever that we have strategies to create productive jobs to replace those that have been lost. Investment decisions in firms, infrastructure, and in energy systems need to be made to create productive jobs as we go through this period of change.

How will the institute resolve this issue?

By playing to three strengths, says Tony.

The first is the research strength that comes from our network of universities and leading researchers.

The second is our breadth. Research will cover eight themes including geography and place, human and knowledge capital, and institutions and governance. The Institute will be multidisciplinary, including experts from a wide range of social sciences and STEM subjects.

The third is our reach to stakeholders in the business and policy fields in all regions of the country. Regional Productivity Fora will provide the two-way channel from research into practise, and from region and firm specific concerns into research.

As former research manager of the trade research group in the World Bank, and chief economist in the Department for International Development Tony knows all about productivity and the challenges we face to solve it. He is looking forward to being part of the institute and being held to account in the future for delivering new findings that have contributed to improving UK performance.

For more expert opinions and economic updates follow @TPIProductivity