Economists concern themselves not only with addressing difficult questions thoughtfully, but also with formulating the questions themselves. Sometimes, rethinking those questions can hold the key to finding the answers we need.
Consider the productivity debate. Economists trying to explain the apparent structural slowdown in productivity growth have been asking the following question: Where is the missing increase? Their response covers concerns about measurement, structural shifts in the labor market, a potential paucity of investment opportunities, productivity-diluting technological innovations, and technology-driven skills mismatches.