The Colin Clark Memorial Lecture Series

Our annual public lecture and most prestigious event

2023 Colin Clark Memorial Lecture by
Professor Diane Coyle, Cambridge University

What has happened to economic progress?

In a time of extraordinary technological progress, the global community faces a complex challenge known as the 'productivity puzzle.'

Despite the rapid pace of innovation, many countries are seeing sluggish growth in productivity and, consequently, in living standards. At the same time, the critiques of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a measure of progress have grown louder in the face of mounting environmental crises and ageing populations.

So, are our conventional measures of productivity inadequate? Have we reached a point where innovation alone can no longer drive sustainable growth? Is it time to rethink GDP and switch to alternative metrics to measure progress? 


About the speaker - Professor Diane Coyle

Diane CoyleDiane Coyle is the Bennett Professor of Public Policy at the University of Cambridge. Diane co-directs the Bennett Institute, where she heads research under the themes of progress and productivity. Her latest book, Cogs and Monsters: What Economics Is, and What It Should Be, discusses how economics needs to change to keep pace with the twenty-first century and the digital economy. She was previously Professor of Economics at the University of Manchester. 

Professor Coyle is also a Director of the Productivity Institute, a Fellow of the Office for National Statistics, and an expert adviser to the National Infrastructure Commission. She has served in public service roles, including as Vice Chair of the BBC Trust and member of the Competition Commission, the Migration Advisory Committee and the Natural Capital Committee. She was awarded a DBE in the King’s Birthday Honours List 2023 for her invaluable contributions to economic policy and practice, as well as her unwavering commitment to public service.

About the series

Economist Dr Colin Clark

The lecture series is named in honour of the late Dr Colin Clark and his outstanding contribution to the field of economics. Each year a leading expert in economics is invited to present the keynote address. 

Dr Colin Clark was a UQ Economics academic whose work on national income accounting was fundamentally important to the development of macroeconomics and to the approach of John Maynard Keynes.

While visiting Australia, he accepted the invitation of Queensland Premier Forgan Smith to work with the government. He reflected on the opportunity in a letter to John Keynes writing the opportunity was "too remarkable an opportunity to be missed for putting economics into practice."

In 1938 he was appointed Government Statistician, Director of the Bureau of Industry, and Financial Advisor to the Queensland Treasury, and provided the State's first set of economic accounts in 1940.

Dr Clark's greatest contribution to economics was his pioneering role in the construction of national accounts.

Previous lectures


Previous speakers

Thirty-first2022Erik Brynjolfsson, GDP-B: Accounting for the value of new and free goods in the digital economy
Thirtieth2021Matthew Jackson, The economic consequences and dynamics of social networks
Twenty-ninth2019Professor Alicia Rambaldi, International comparison methods
Twenty-eighth2018Professor Daniel Zizzo, Decision making: How to change it and why it matters 
Twenty-seventh2017Professor John Quiggin, Unscrambling the Toll Road Egg
Twenty-sixth2016Professor Leslie M. Marx, How to defend against potential collusion by your suppliers
Twenty-fifth2015Professor Alison Booth, Gender in economics: A story in the making
Twenty-fourth2014Professor Dale Jorgenson, Australia and the Growth of the World Economy
Twenty-third2013Professor John Quiggin, National Accounting and the Digital Economy: The Case of the NBN
Twenty-second2012Professor Ross Garnaut
Twenty-first2011Professor Stephen King
Twentieth2010Professor Erwin Diewert
Nineteenth2009Dr David Gruen, What Have We Learnt? The Great Depression in Australia from the Perspective of Today
Eighteenth2008Mr Gary Banks AO
Seventeenth2007Professor Ian Harper
Sixteenth2006Professor Alan Heston
Fifteenth2005Professor Stan Metcalfe CBE
Fourteenth2004Professor Allan Fels AO
Thirteenth2003Mr Angus Maddison
Twelfth2002Mr Ian Macfarlane
Eleventh2001Dr Peter McCawley, Asian Poverty: What can be Done?
Tenth2000Professor Bob Gregory
Ninth1999Mr Ted Evans
Eighth1998Mr Ian Castles
Seventh1997Professor Geoffrey Harcourt
Sixth1996Dr Peter Crossman
Fifth1995Professor Warren Hogan
Fourth1994Emeritus Professor H.M. (Ted) Kolsen
Third1993Professor Peter Groenewegen
Second1992Emeritus Professor Heinz Wolfgang Arndt
Inaugural1991Emeritus Professor Jim O.N. Perkins