sábado, 10 de septiembre de 2016

What is the sustainable pace of GDP growth in the United States?

Is America’s 150 year streak of (pretty much) steady growth at an end?

by James Pethokoukis

Call it the New Normal or Great Stagnation, but there’s plenty of concern that America’s weak 2000s growth rate — before and after the Great Recession and Financial Crisis — is a harbinger of anemic growth to come. And GDP has indeed been weak, just 1.9% annually since 1999 vs. 3.6% from 1948-99.

Yet if you look at GDP growth on a per capita basis and compare it to America’s longer-term growth trend, it doesn’t look nearly so dire, as NYU economist William Easterly points in atweet — “That horribly traumatic Growth Slowdown in the US may not actually exist” — highlighting this chart from Stanford economist Charles Jones:

Jones from his paper, “The Facts of Economic Growth”:
For nearly 150 years,GDP per person in the U.S. economy has grown at a remarkably steady average rate of around 2 percent per year. Starting at around $3,000 in 1870, per capita GDP rose to more than $50,000 by 2014, a nearly 17-fold increase. Beyond the large, sustained growth in living standards, several other features of this graph stand out. One is the significant decline in income associated with the Great Depression. However, to me this decline stands out most for how anomalous it is. Many of the other recessions barely make an impression on the eye: over long periods of time, economic growth swamps economic fluctuations. Moreover, despite the singular severity of the Great Depression — GDP per person fell by nearly 20 percent in just four years — it is equally remarkable that the Great Depression was temporary. By 1939, the economy is already passing its previous peak and the macroeconomic story a decade later is once again one of sustained, almost relentless, economic growth.

But is 2%-ish what we can expect in the future?


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