Working Papers

2014-02 | January 2014


The Future of U.S. Economic Growth


Modern growth theory suggests that more than 3/4 of growth since 1950 reflects rising educational attainment and research intensity. As these transition dynamics fade, U.S. economic growth is likely to slow at some point. However, the rise of China, India, and other emerging economies may allow another few decades of rapid growth in world researchers. Finally, and more speculatively, the shape of the idea production function introduces a fundamental uncertainty into the future of growth. For example, the possibility that artificial intelligence will allow machines to replace workers to some extent could lead to higher growth in the future.

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Article Citation

Fernald, John G, and Charles I. Jones. 2014. "The Future of U.S. Economic Growth ," Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco Working Paper 2014-02. Available at