Total Factor Productivity Growth in Historical Perspective: Working Paper 2013-01

Working Paper
March 18, 2013

By Robert Shackleton

This paper reviews the broad contours of total factor productivity (TFP) growth in the U.S. economy since 1870, highlighting the contribution of various technological innovations to the growth of different sectors of the economy. The paper also notes the correlation between TFP growth and improvements in general health and well-being as reflected in changes in life expectancy. Finally, the paper discusses the potential for continued growth in TFP in the future.