You’re not going to think this is interesting unless you’re a stickler for details, but after being unable to track it down on the web I’ve finally definitively sourced this famous quote from Robert Solow:

You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.

The source is Robert Solow, “We’d better watch out”, New York Times Book Review, July 12 1987, page 36. The full article is linked here as a PDF because I was unable to find an electronic version. (I actually tracked down a hard copy from the UW library system!)

PS. Various sources online accurately source the quote to this article, but many others source it to The New York Review of Books (which didn’t have an edition on July 12 1987).

Congratulations to me for tracking down this citation! Next up (but I fear impossible): William McChesney Martin’s famous quote along the lines of how the Fed’s job is to take away the punch bowl just as the party’s getting started.

Update March 2011: The “punch bowl” mystery has been mostly solved!