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The origins of US total factor productivity growth in the golden age

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  • Alexander J. Field

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA 95053, USA.)

Abstract

A consideration of TFP growth in the United States during the golden age (1948–1973) raises two related questions: on the one hand why was it so strong and on the other hand, why were TFP growth rates lower than they were during the Depression years (1929–1941)? A continuing downward trend in TFP growth within manufacturing, and its declining share after World War II, provide answers to the latter question. A persisting productivity windfall associated with the build out of the surface road infrastructure helps answer the former question. By adopting a longer historical perspective, we can move beyond understanding the golden age sui generis, and begin to see it instead as a period reflecting the persistence of trends and developments whose origins are to be found prior to the Second World War.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC) in its journal Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History.

Volume (Year): 1 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 (April)
Pages: 63-90

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Handle: RePEc:afc:cliome:v:1:y:2007:i:1:p:63-90

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Web page: http://www.cliometrie.org
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Related research

Keywords: Productivity; TFP; US macroeconomic history; Manufacturing; Transportation;

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Cited by:
  1. John Fernald, 2014. "Productivity and Potential Output Before, During, and After the Great Recession," NBER Working Papers 20248, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Jean Luc De Meulemeester, 2009. "A comment on "US Economic Growth in the Gilded Age"," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/147670, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  3. Herman De Jong & Pieter Woltjer, 2011. "Depression dynamics: a new estimate of the Anglo‐American manufacturing productivity gap in the interwar period," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 64(2), pages 472-492, 05.
  4. Field, Alexander J., 2009. "US economic growth in the gilded age," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 173-190, March.
  5. Jong, H. de & Woltjer, P., 2009. "A Comparison of Real Output and Productivity for British and American Manufacturing in 1935," GGDC Research Memorandum GD-108, Groningen Growth and Development Centre, University of Groningen.
  6. Woltjer, P. & Smits, Jan-Pieter & Frankema, Ewout, 2010. "Comparing Productivity in the Netherlands, France, UK and US, ca. 1910:A new PPP benchmark and its implications for changing economic leadership," GGDC Research Memorandum GD-113, Groningen Growth and Development Centre, University of Groningen.

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