The Productivity Institute

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Alliance Manchester Business School


The Productivity Institute is based on the premise that shared prosperity and global excellence is built on sustained increases in productivity. However, in recent decades productivity has become a major drag on the British economy. The UK's productivity puzzle has many dimensions, manifesting themselves differently across regions and sectors. This includes low productivity growth by international standards, an increasing number of low-productivity firms, and large variations in performance across and within regions. Yet, at the same time, there are example of innovation flourishing (even in some of the worst performing regions) where local sectors, firms or initiatives are generating new products, services and ways of working. Looking forward, several societal transitions will present fresh challenges to the future of the UK's productivity performance, including an ageing population, climate change, and disruptive digitalisation of the economy and society. While these transitions provide opportunities for productivity growth, they can also exacerbate the problem and worsen the trend if not addressed in a systematic and coordinated way. Finally, rising disparities between and inequalities within regions are often a reflection of large variations in people's skill levels and their different access to the resources critical for productivity, namely education, training and healthcare.

There is no 'silver bullet' solution to the UK's productivity challenges. Our core hypothesis is that the country's poor productivity record is a systemic problem related to decades of low investment, including fixed capital formation, R&D spending, infrastructure, human capital, and 'missing capitals' including intangible assets and natural capital. At the same time, the UK's productivity problem has been exacerbated by fragmented decision-making and the absence of broad, well-functioning ecosystems involving business, government and research institutions. Therefore, the two inter-related research priorities are to remove the obstacles to chronic underinvestment; and to tackle the fragmented decision-making and lack of co-ordination of investments at all levels.

The Productivity Institute will provide research-driven solutions to address these challenges, ranging from the growing spatial disparities to the frequent failure of promising innovations to scale up and improve productivity across the UK. It will co-produce all of its work with stakeholders through three concurrent pillars of activity: engagement; research, experimentation and implementation. It will adopt an agile approach in which a significant part of our resources will be used to respond to emerging realities of the current UK productivity context, including through commissioning work across our eight integrated research themes. Finally, The Productivity Institute seeks to scale up local and regional solutions to be applied more broadly in a coordinated manner.

The Productivity Institute will be led by the University of Manchester (UoM), whose Alliance Manchester Business School will act as its headquarters. The Productivity Institute will include eight partner institutions across the country: University of Glasgow, University of Sheffield, University of Cambridge, King's College London, Queen's University Belfast, Cardiff University, University of Warwick, and the National Institute of Social and Economic Research. NIESR will coordinate the ABIP's policy outreach as well as establish and lead a national Policy Reform Group. In recognition of the uneven nature of the productivity puzzle across regions and sectors, The Productivity Institute will build capacity throughout the UK by establishing eight Regional Productivity Forums which will act as local focal points to engage our target users, scope their needs and challenges, and understand where the ABIP can add value. These Forums will be supported by experts from the participating universities.



Bart Van Ark (Principal Investigator)
Anthony James Venables (Co-Investigator)
Nigel L Driffield (Co-Investigator) orcid
Anna Vignoles (Co-Investigator)
Richard Allmendinger (Co-Investigator) orcid
Frank Willem Geels (Co-Investigator)
Rebecca Riley (Co-Investigator)
Mary O'Mahony (Co-Investigator)
Elvira Uyarra (Co-Investigator)
Christopher Warhurst (Co-Investigator) orcid
Simone Schnall (Co-Investigator)
Stephen Roper (Co-Investigator) orcid
John Turner (Co-Investigator)
M Kenny (Co-Investigator)
Janet Godsell (Co-Investigator)
Chander Velu (Co-Investigator)
Philip McCann (Co-Investigator)
Anthony Leo Rafferty (Co-Investigator)
John Tsoukalas (Co-Investigator)
Jian-Bo Yang (Co-Investigator)
Claudine Anne Bowyer-Crane (Co-Investigator)
Garry James Young (Co-Investigator) orcid
Bridgette Anne Wessels (Co-Investigator)
Adrian Pabst (Co-Investigator) orcid
Andy Westwood (Co-Investigator)
Jagjit Chadha (Co-Investigator)
David Richards (Co-Investigator)
Jonatan Pinkse (Co-Investigator) orcid
Vasco Carvalho (Co-Investigator) orcid
Tim Vorley (Co-Investigator)
Cary Cooper (Co-Investigator)
Jill Rubery (Co-Investigator)
Augustin De Coulon (Co-Investigator) orcid
Ana Rincon Aznar (Co-Investigator) orcid
David Nguyen (Co-Investigator)
Eugenio Proto (Co-Investigator) orcid
Diane Coyle (Co-Investigator) orcid
Richard Jones (Co-Investigator)
Irina Minodora Surdu (Co-Investigator) orcid
Damian Grimshaw (Co-Investigator) orcid
Andrew Gordon Henley (Co-Investigator) orcid
Matthew Agarwala (Researcher)


10 25 50
publication icon
Wannakrairoj W (2021) Productivity growth and business model innovation in Economics Letters