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Economist Reframes Conversation About Growth in America

Robert Gordon’s new book discusses whether the best days of the U.S. economy are over

A new book by Northwestern University Professor Robert J. Gordon is reframing the conversation about economic growth in America and the future trends in growth around the world. 

Gordon, the Stanley G. Harris Professor in the Social Sciences in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences -- considered to be one of the most influential macroeconomists in the world -- has long been raising questions about the process of economic growth.

In a recent interview with PBS NewsHour, Gordon discusses whether the best days of the U.S. economy are over -- which he also expands on in his new book “The Rise and Fall of American Growth.” Watch interview here.

In a recent review in The New York Times Sunday Book Review, economist and columnist Paul Krugman argues Gordon may well be right. In Gordon’s latest book, Krugman writes, Gordon “doubles down on that theme, declaring that the kind of rapid economic growth we still consider our due, and expect to continue forever, was in fact a one-time-only event. First came the Great Inventions, almost all dating from the late 19th century. Then came refinement and exploitation of those inventions — a process that took time, and exerted its peak effect on economic growth between 1920 and 1970. Everything since has at best been a faint echo of that great wave, and Gordon doesn’t expect us ever to see anything similar.”

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