Sustainable Growth

The Puzzle of Weak Capital Investment in the United States: Causes and Remedies

May 6, 2015  • Institute Staff

Capital investment has long been a primary source of growth, innovation and enhanced standards of living in the United States. Since the Great Recession, however, it has been apparent that capital investment, whether measured in new equipment, research and development, or building new factories and infrastructure, has been very weak by historical standards.

The weakness in capital investment actually extends as far back as the recession following the dot-com bubble. Such a trend portends an extended period of weak productivity growth and slow.

The Aspen Institute convenes a panel of distinguished experts to explore the causes of slowing investment and possible policy options to help reverse the trend. The Aspen Institute Program on Manufacturing is collaborating with the MAPI Foundation on a research paper analyzing this problem, and the paper is released in conjunction with the panel discussion.

Speakers include:


  • Larry Gies, president and chief executive officer, Madison Industries
  • Neal Keating, chairman, president and chief executive officer, Kaman Corporation
  • Robert L. Stevenson, president and chief executive officer, Eastman Machine Company
  • Donald A. Norman, director of economic studies, MAPI Foundation


Moderator: Nelson D. Schwartz, economics reporter, New York Times