Productivity


Mobile is not king in the US

Posted by on December 31, 2014  /  1 Comments

A story reporting Pew research on perceptions on the Internet has this little nugget showing how different developed markets are from ours. For all the talk of our culture moving to mobile phones, more than one-third of the respondents said a landline phone was vital to their jobs, compared with the one-quarter that said a cellphone was very important. Pew surveyed 535 American adults employed full-time or part-time in September using a nationally representative online research panel. The margin of error for the survey, which was conducted in English, was plus or minus 5 percentage points. Respondents said the Internet had made them more productive and given them more flexibility in their jobs, but about 35 percent said they were also working longer hours because of it.
That was a tough header to compose. How was it that an Indian company that had the largest share of the Indian market was importing mobile devices from China? Anyway, that has been the case so far. It’s about to change. Not necessarily true that making things in India will be cheaper.
LIRNEasia has been working on making agriculture markets more efficient since 2007. Here, in a discussion of decelerating growth in India, is a justification for our focus and our intention to do more work in agriculture. Agriculture employs about half of India’s work force, for example, yet the agricultural revolution that flourished in the 1970s has slowed. Crop yields remain stubbornly low, transport and water infrastructure is poor, and the legal system is hostile to foreign investment in basic agriculture and to modern agribusiness. Note that the earlier general growth bursts of Japan, South Korea and Taiwan were all preceded by significant gains in agricultural productivity.
LIRNEasia’s future work will focus on knowledge-based economies, which makes us very interested in stories like this, which place innovation at the center. China’s productivity has been lifted by a massive expansion of private enterprise, and a shift of labour out of agricultural work and into more productive jobs in industry. China’s average return on physical capital is now well above the global average, according to Goldman Sachs. A decade ago it was less than half the world average. Why have the Asian economies led the pack?