A Utah State University economist is part of a team trying to improve productivity in one of the world's poorest countries.

Dr. Gary Hansen, professor of economics and director of the Utah Center for Productivity and and Quality of Working Life at USU, is participating in a United Nations study on prospects to improve public and private industrial productivity in Nepal.He recently spent four weeks in the Himalayan kingdom as one of an international team of experts.

Hansen's expertise is in designing national productivity organizations and launching productivity improvement campaigns. The team, put together by the International Labor Office in Switzerland, also included experts in measurement and training.

Hansen and the team wrote a report that analyzed the productivity problems in industry and recommended a multiyear development project to help overcome them. Approved by the Nepalese government, it is awaiting funding from United Nations Development Program headquarters in New York.

The team also proposed a five-year project to strengthen Nepal's higher education system's ability to train young managers in productivity-related skills. If both projects are approved, Hansen will make trips to Nepal to help implement them.

Nepal urgently needs to improve its industrial productivity in order to expand the economy, said Hansen.