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Productivity and the Post-1990 U.S. Economy

Staff Report 350 | Revised May 1, 2005

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Productivity and the Post-1990 U.S. Economy


In this paper, we show that ignoring corporate intangible investments gives a distorted picture of the post-1990 U.S. economy. In particular, ignoring intangible investments in the late 1990s leads one to conclude that productivity growth was modest, corporate profits were low, and corporate investment was at moderate levels. In fact, the late 1990s was a boom period for productivity growth, corporate profits, and corporate investment.

Published In: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Review (Vol. 87, No. 4, July/August 2005, pp. 537-549)

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