The Inaugural Leon N. Moses Lecture in Transportation

Is U.S. Economic Growth Over? Lessons from the Long 20th Century

bobRobert J. Gordon

Stanley G. Harris Professor in the Social Sciences & Professor of Economics
Northwestern University

October 25, 2011

James L. Allen Center, McCormick Foundation Auditorium
2169 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL

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This lecture was free and open to the public.

About Robert Gordon and the Inaugural Lecture

Robert Gordon is one of the world's leading experts on inflation, unemployment, and productivity growth.  His lecture will be a highly original questioning of the usual assumption that economic growth is a steady process that will continue forever.  He will argue instead that there was virtually no economic growth between the Greeks and Romans of antiquity and around 1700 in Britain.  Then came the flowering of economic growth which he will trace over the first, second, and third industrial revolutions from which the benefits have lasted from 1750 to today and perhaps another 50 years beyond.   By then the pace of innovation will be dying out to be replaced by “headwinds” including the reduction in the standard of living implied by globalization, inequality, education, environment, and deficits. The talk will be of interest to anyone who is concerned about the future of the United States and its traditional leadership in the international league tables of the standard of living.

Gordon did his undergraduate work at Harvard and then attended Oxford University on a Marshall Scholarship.  He received his Ph.D. in 1967 at M.I.T. and taught at Harvard and the University of Chicago before coming to Northwestern in 1973.  He is a Fellow of the Econometrics Society, a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, a Research Fellow of the Centre for Economic Policy Research (London) and the Observatoire Français des Conjunctures Economiques (Paris), and an economic adviser to the Congressional Budget Office and the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

His recent work on the rise and fall of the New Economy, the revival and “explosion” of U. S. productivity growth, the stalling of European productivity growth, and the widening of the U. S. income distribution, have been widely cited.  Gordon is author of Macroeconomics, eleventh edition, which has been translated into eight languages, and of The Measurement of Durable Goods Prices, The American Business Cycle, and The Economics of New Goods.

About the Series

The Leon N. Moses Distinguished Transportation Lecture is named in honor of Professor Emeritus Leon N. Moses for his significant contributions to the field of transportation economics and regional science and for his long and dedicated service to the Northwestern University Transportation Center.

About Leon N. Moses

Professor Moses came to Northwestern University in 1959 as an Associate Professor of Economics. He was appointed the Robert E. and Emily King Professor of Business Institutions in 1993, and has been Professor of Economics with a joint appointment to the Transportation Center since 1963. He retired to become an Emeritus Professor in 2005. His work primarily focused on the economics of firm location and the critical role played by transport and transportation costs.

Moses held a number of positions at the Transportation Center including Director of Research Director of Education.  From 1976 until 1980 he served as the Director the Transportation Center.  Under his leadership the Center gained national prominence for its several conferences exploring the prospect of transportation deregulation.

During his career at Northwestern, he also served as Chair of the Economics Department, and held a joint appointment at the J. L. Kellogg School of Management for several years. Professor Moses served on almost all major university committees while at Northwestern.

He attended The Ohio State University where he began as a major in agriculture. He later changed to economics. Moses was discharged from the armed forces in 1945. He then returned to Ohio State in 1946 and graduated in 1947 with highest honors. Following that he enrolled in the graduate economics program at Harvard University and was awarded an MA in 1950 and a PhD in 1955. He became an Assistant Professor at Harvard after receiving his doctorate.