Laura Tyson: Game Changers for Growth:
There are often-overlooked reasons for optimism about America’s future potential growth… shale energy, big-data analytics, exports in knowledge-intensive industries, infrastructure investment, and talent development. Two of these--shale energy and big-data analytics--build on ongoing technological breakthroughs in which the US has a strong lead and depend primarily on private-sector action, not macroeconomic or structural policies….
McKinsey estimates that growth in shale energy could add 2-4% to annual GDP and create up to 1.7 million jobs by 2020. But extracting shale energy involves environmental risks and uncertainties, among them groundwater contamination, higher methane emissions, and potential seismic effects. And shale gas emits CO2… even though it has half the carbon content of coal….
Big data and advanced analytics are another technology-driven game changer for US growth. As more data are generated, stored, and transmitted in digital form, new data sets relevant to personal and business decisions are growing exponentially… can be quickly analyzed and used by businesses to reduce costs, boost productivity, and create new products and services…. create value for consumers through greater product variety and quality, as well as enhanced convenience…. McKinsey estimates that big-data analytics could add about $325 billion, or 1.7% to annual GDP in the retail and manufacturing sectors, while generating up to $285 billion in productivity gains and cost savings in health care and government by 2020….
New information and communications technologies were game changers that boosted the potential growth rate of the US economy in the 1990’s… shale energy and big-data technologies will be game changers with similar benefits for the economy’s potential growth over the next several years.