An Economy Doing Half Its Job – Findings of Harvard Business School’s 2013–14 Survey on U.S. Competitiveness

Source: Michael E. Porter & Jan W. Rivkin, Harvard Business School, September 2014

From the press release:
A new survey of Harvard Business School (HBS) alumni focuses on “An Economy Doing Half Its Job”: large and midsize firms in America have rallied strongly from the Great Recession, but middle- and working-class citizens are struggling, as are small businesses.

“The United States is competitive to the extent that firms operating here do two things: win in global markets and lift the living standards of the average American. The U.S. economy is doing the first of these but failing at the second,” said Harvard’s Michael E. Porter, Bishop William Lawrence University Professor, based at Harvard Business School, and co-chair of HBS’s U.S. Competitiveness Project. “This is a critical moment for our nation. Business leaders and policy makers need a strategy to get our country on a path towards broadly shared prosperity.”

Added Jan W. Rivkin, Bruce V. Rauner Professor of Business Administration and co-chair of the Project, “The findings of the 2013-14 survey shed light on why the fates of firms and citizens are diverging. American workers are captives of what the survey shows to be the weakest aspects of the U.S. business environment—for instance, our polarized politics and our struggling systems for educating young people and developing their workplace skills. Firms, in contrast, are beneficiaries of our nation’s greatest strengths—like our research universities and vibrant capital markets. Firms can escape the weaknesses in the U.S. business environment by moving abroad, but workers can’t.” …

…This year’s findings and subsequent research emphasize three areas that are critical for America’s future competitiveness: (1) the K-12 education system, (2) the skills of the American workforce, and (3) transportation infrastructure. …