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Social Savings

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  • Tim Leunig

Abstract

'Social savings' is a cliometric concept to measure the benefit to society of technological improvements. The terms are defined, and the relationship between social savings and consumer surplus, total factor productivity and growth accounting measures is discussed. We critically outline Fogel's original application of social savings to American railroads in 1890, before looking at subsequent uses of the concept, both to other transport improvements and to other technological changes more generally. The paper concludes by setting out areas to which social savings could be applied, as well as setting out guidelines that future economic historians should use when applying the technique, in order to maximize the likely usefulness of any such work. Copyright � 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Journal of Economic Surveys.

Volume (Year): 24 (2010)
Issue (Month): 5 (December)
Pages: 775-800

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Handle: RePEc:bla:jecsur:v:24:y:2010:i:5:p:775-800

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  1. Summerhill, William R., 2005. "Big Social Savings in a Small Laggard Economy: Railroad-Led Growth in Brazil," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 65(01), pages 72-102, March.
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Cited by:
  1. John Tang, 2013. "Railroad expansion and entrepreneurship: Evidence from Meiji Japan," AJRC Working Papers 02, Australia-Japan Research Centre, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  2. Rio Lydon, 2012. "The eighth wonder of the world: how might access for vehicles have prevented the economic failure of the Thames Tunnel 1843-1865?," Economic History Working Papers 47804, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
  3. Tim Leunig, 2011. "Cart or Horse: Transport and Economic Growth," International Transport Forum Discussion Papers 2011/4, OECD Publishing.
  4. Herranz-Loncan, Alfonso, 2011. "The contribution of railways to economic growth in Latin America before 1914: a growth accounting approach," MPRA Paper 33578, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. repec:csg:ajrcwp:1302 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Brunt, Liam & Cannon, Edmund, 2013. "Integration in the English wheat market 1770-1820," CEPR Discussion Papers 9504, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

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