Presentation Bart van Ark at the OECD – Lunch Seminar 5 February 2018 – Is the glass of global growth half full or half empty?

Bart van Ark is Executive Vice President, Chief Economist and CSO at The Conference Board (a global research organization with its head office in the United States, NYC). He leads a global team of economists in New York, Brussels and Beijing, who produce a portfolio of widely watched economic indicators and growth forecasts, as well as in-depth global economic research. Bart van Ark oversees five of The Conference Board’s expertise centers, including Global Economy, Labor Markets, Consumer Dynamics, Innovation and Productivity, and Digital Transformation.

Van Ark is an expert in international comparative studies of economic performance, productivity and innovation. He has been extensively published in leading national and international academic journals and is frequently featured in major international business media, including Bloomberg, CNBC, the Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal.

Bart van Ark is also a professor in Economic Development, Technological Change and Growth at the University of Groningen (the Netherlands).

The seminar (see description below) was organized by the Permanent Delegation of the Netherlands to the OECD.

After the presentation and before the Q&A session with participants, the OECD Economics Department (Luiz de Mello, Alain de Serres) provided some comments from complementary ECO perspectives.

After several years of stagnant growth, the global economy is finally beginning to show signs of a sustained recovery. However, sources of growth have changed since the financial crisis of 2008. The positive contributors of the 1990s and 2000s – such as rapid globalization, manufacturing innovation and deregulation – have dissipated, and with several emerging markets (including China and ASEAN) converging towards comparative levels of economic development with advanced markets, new growth drivers will need to supplant those of the past.

During the seminar Bart van Ark addressed the major changing drivers of growth. He argued that the glass-half-full/half-empty distinction is not sufficient to understand the future of growth. It depends on what the glass is filled with, notably whether qualitative growth drivers – such as increased talent contribution of the workforce, digital transformation and productivity growth – will make a larger contribution to growth.

In addition to the outlook for economic growth in 2018 and beyond, Bart van Ark discussed several related issues such as:  

  • How will increasing uncertainty and risk factors impact investment and growth in the medium and longer term? 
  • Can digital technology and transformation come to the rescue of slowing global growth? 
  • How do global value chains in many industries change and impact the future of foreign trade?
  • How should the Western world respond to the challenges that China’s geo-economic expansion is presenting?

Please find below Bart van Ark’s presentation.