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The Information Economy:
New Paradigm or Old Fashion?

Tuesday, December 12, 2000, 2:30 p.m.-4:00 p.m.
International Monetary Fund
IMF Auditorium, Red Level, (R-710)
700 19th Street, N.W.

The combination of high growth, low inflation, and low unemployment driven by rapid productivity growth experienced in the U.S. economy for the past five years is being seen by some as evidence of a new paradigm in postindustrial macroeconomics. Advocates cite factors uniquely combined in the U.S. economy as components of the supposed new paradigm: minimal government, a competitive environment, encouragement of entrepreneurship, access to capital, and intensive use of information technology.

Skeptics contend, however, that the sustainable growth rate ceiling of the U.S. economy is unchanged and that the regular relationships between growth, employment, and inflation established in the second half of the 20th century still prevail. They believe these relationships may have been masked by temporary influences such as efficiency gains from the corporate restructuring cycle, disinflation from U.S. dollar strength, and lower interest rates arising from a trend toward fiscal equilibrium.

Observers between these two poles of opinion are puzzled by the apparent absence of new-paradigm conditions or results in the European economy. Why has Europe, with its abundance of highly skilled labor and its globally dominant corporations in many industries, lagged the U.S. in taking advantage of the new technologies of what may be a third industrial revolution? Will the deepening of European integration through a single market and monetary union foster new-paradigm conditions?

These and other issues will be addressed by three panelists at this forum:

Thomas Duesterberg, President of the Manufacturers Alliance, heads a policy research organization whose mission includes promoting and supporting the interests of manufacturing  industries to achieve greater productivity and innovation. He is a former senior fellow of the Hudson Institute whose research interests include trade policy, strategies for technology development, and regulation of emerging technologies.

Lawrence Mishel, Vice President of the Economic Policy Institute, specializes in the fields of productivity, competitiveness, income distribution, labor markets, education, and industrial relations. He is co-author of The State of Working America, a comprehensive review of incomes, wages, employment, and other dimensions of living standards published biennially.

Mark Wynne, senior economist and research officer with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, has research interests in the fields of monetary economics and macroeconomics. During 1997 and 1998 he worked on issues related to monetary policy strategy under European monetary union for the European Monetary Institute and the European Central Bank.

The forum will be moderated by Steven Dunaway, Assistant Director in the North American division of the IMF's Western Hemisphere Department, whose brief includes supervision of the IMF's annual review of the U.S. economy.