Journal Article

Improving Productivity—Opening the Black Box

Ken Mayhew and Andy Neely

in Oxford Review of Economic Policy

Published on behalf of The Oxford Review of Economic Policy Ltd

Volume 22, issue 4, pages 445-456
Published in print January 2006 | ISSN: 0266-903X
Published online January 2006 | e-ISSN: 1460-2121 | DOI:
Improving Productivity—Opening the Black Box

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  • Economic Development and Growth
  • Public Economics
  • Political Economy
  • Public Policy


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Hourly productivity levels in the UK still remain behind those in some competitor countries. The government devotes much policy attention to enhancing productivity and continues to emphasise its five drivers—investment, innovation, skills, enterprise, and competition. This article argues that it is investment broadly defined that is the key to sustained productivity improvement. The emphasis should be on improving productivity simultaneously with improving the quality of production. Only thus will the gains be widely shared. In achieving these aims there are two prerequisites for policy-makers. The first is to ensure better coordination of policy than appears to be currently achieved by the present departmental structures in Whitehall. The second is to recognize fully the long and complex chain of causation that can be triggered by pulling on one policy lever. Such complexity can only be fully understood by more research on what actually goes on inside the black box of the organization.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth ; Public Economics ; Political Economy ; Public Policy

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