Posted on 16 May 2019
Early in the twenty-first century, a quiet revolution occurred. For the first time, the major developed economies began to invest more in intangible assets, like design, branding, R&D, or software, than in tangible assets, like machinery, buildings, and computers. For all sorts of businesses, from tech firms and pharma companies to coffee shops and gyms, the ability to deploy assets that one can neither see nor touch is increasingly the main source of long-term success. But this is not just a familiar story of the so-called new economy. As Jonathan Haskel will discuss in this talk, the growing importance of intangible assets has also played a role in some of the big economic changes of the last decade. He will argue that the rise of intangible investment is an underappreciated cause of phenomena from economic inequality to stagnating productivity, and he will draw out some implications for monetary policy.