Economists and policymakers have acknowledged that the slowdown in productivity growth is one of the major economic problems facing the United States because sluggish productivity growth means slower growth in our standard of living. The decline in educational quality may have played a role in this slowdown. Growth of real government spending on nonmilitary public infrastructure declined from an annual rate of 4.1 percent between 1948-69 to only 1.6 during 1969-87. There is also some indication that educational quality may have slipped over time as witnessed by the fact that Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores have been declining since the mid-1960s.1

This article appeared in the September/October 1993 edition of Business Review.

  1. The data reported in this paragraph are taken from Alicia H. Munnell, "Why Has Productivity Growth Declined? Productivity and Public Investment," New England Economic Review, January/February 1990a, pp. 3-22.
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