An Economy Doing Half Its Job (pdf)

Re: Michael E. Porter and Jan W. Rivkin, with contributions from Joseph B. Fuller, Allen S. Grossman, Rosabeth Moss Kanter, and Kevin W. Sharer

This report presents the findings of HBS' 2013–14 survey on U.S. competitiveness. It highlights a troubling divergence in the U.S. economy. Large and midsize firms have rallied strongly from the Great Recession, and highly-skilled individuals are prospering. But middle- and working-class citizens are struggling, as are small businesses. While HBS alumni saw strengths in elements of the business environment that influence firms' success, the weaknesses in elements that drive prosperity for the average American indicate that the American economy requires a strategy in order to do its full job. As a start, business leaders must take action to address the structural problems that linger for the nation, even as the cyclical recovery continues. The survey delves into three elements of the business environment that play a key role in restoring U.S. competitiveness: K–12 education, workplace skills, and transportation infrastructure.

Read about the survey methodology and review the survey questionnaire.
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HBS requests that if you use the survey instrument, in whole or in part, please ensure that you cite HBS' original work as with any academic publication. We would also very much appreciate your sharing your survey's progress and data so that we may research cross-country comparisons and optimize the learning for the whole community. For all queries please contact