Keynote Address

Global Economic Growth

RBS Chief Economist Stephen Boyle shared his outlook on the global economy, explaining how some growth is expected, especially in Europe and the US, with effects spilling into the rest of the world. To some extent, however, a slowing in both innovation and education is limiting growth. Therefore, he suggests that countries pass a version of the Marshmallow Test by investing in the right assets today and enforcing appropriate regulation to create an environment of innovation for a better tomorrow.

Key Points

  1. Global growth is likely to accelerate in 2018 and 2019, with modest recovery expected in emerging markets. For the first time in a decade, we will see sustained growth in the European economy and modest growth in the US. This offers an opportunity to expand margins.
  2. Growth has been slowing down because productivity has been slowing down. Significant investments in innovation have not been made in some time, and there is less opportunity for increases in education.
  3. To re-energize and catalyze growth in the global economy, governments and companies must pass today’s economic version of the Marshmallow Test. In Stanford in the 1960s, researchers gave children a sweet and said they could either have it immediately or wait and have two later. Those who had been able to leave it on the table ultimately were healthier and better off in later years.
  4. To pass the Marshmallow Test and increase productivity, governments need to invest in people, physical assets and innovation today to create a better tomorrow. Governments also need to have the right regulations in place to support innovation.
Stephen Boyle 2017 GBA Summit Keynote RBS


STEPHEN BOYLE Chief Economist, RBS


An environment where innovation takes place is the right environment. — Stephen Boyle