Intangible Capital and Modern Economies

Lun, 03/10/2022 - 12:45 / 13:30

403, Viale Romania

Speaker: Cecilia Jona Lasinio , Luiss

Authors

Carol Corrado (Conference Board, NY)

Jonathan Haskel (Imperial College and the Bank of England, London)

Cecilia Jona-Lasinio (ISTAT, Luiss University and OECD)

Massimiliano Iommi (ISTAT)

Abstract

The production of goods and services is central to understanding economies.  The textbook description of a firm, typically in agriculture or manufacturing, focuses on its physical “tangible” capital (machines), labour (workers) and the state of “know-how”.  Yet real-world firms, such as Apple, Microsoft, Google, have almost no physical capital.  Instead, their main capital assets are “intangible”: software, data, design, reputation, supply-chain expertise, and R&D.  We discuss investment in these knowledge-based “intangible” capital: how to measure it, how it affects macroeconomic data on investment and GDP, and how it relates to growth theory and practical growth accounting.  We present estimates of productivity in the US and European economies in recent decades including intangibles and discuss why, despite a growth in intangible capital and what seems to be a modern technological revolution, productivity growth has slowed down since the global financial crisis.