Article title: Strengthening Manufacturing—How Research Can Inform Public Policy: An Introduction to the Special Issue
The narrative about manufacturing has changed dramatically during the past decade. Throughout the first decade of the 21st century, American manufacturing contracted and closed, moved operations offshore (especially to China), or adopted new technologies to replace low-skilled workers. In this prerecession economic climate, arguments that the manufacturing sector needed the attention of federal and state policy failed to gain traction.
Manufacturing trends and economic growth factors both appear to be shifting. Research, which once showed strong linkages between innovation and profitability, did not hold up in more recent studies. At the same time, offshoring efforts aimed at driving down costs may also be undermining access to innovation that might otherwise have occurred when design and production activities locate near one another. As firms increasingly decide to restore production to the United States and other high-cost developed countries, they may begin to re-establish the historical link between ideation, process improvements, and productivity.
Academic research should aim to better understand the reasons for manufacturing’s turnaround from a job-shedding industry to one adding employment, as well as to better understand the role that public policy has had in making that shift. Read more
Strengthening Manufacturing—How Research Can Inform Public Policy: An Introduction to the Special Issue
Kenneth E. Poole, Brendan Buff,
First Published October 1, 2018
From: Economic Development Quarterly