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The impact of the Civil War on capital intensity and labor productivity in southern manufacturing

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  • Hutchinson, William K.
  • Margo, Robert A.

Abstract

The Civil War resulted in a substantial divergence in the regional structure of factor prices. In particular, wages fell in the South relative to the non-South, but interest rates and other measures of the costs of capital increased. Using archival data for manufacturing establishments, we show that capital-output and capital-labor ratios in southern manufacturing declined relative to non-southern manufacturing after the War, precisely in the direction implied by the regional shifts in factor prices. Labor productivity in Southern manufacturing also declined, but this decline is explained by the reduction in capital intensity.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Explorations in Economic History.

Volume (Year): 43 (2006)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 689-704

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Handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:43:y:2006:i:4:p:689-704

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622830

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  1. Atack, Jeremy & Bateman, Fred & Weiss, Thomas, 1980. "The Regional Diffusion and Adoption of the Steam Engine in American Manufacturing," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 40(02), pages 281-308, June.
  2. Goldin, Claudia D. & Lewis, Frank D., 1975. "The Economic Cost of the American Civil War: Estimates and Implications," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 35(02), pages 299-326, June.
  3. Goldin, Claudia & Sokoloff, Kenneth, 1982. "Women, Children, and Industrialization in the Early Republic: Evidence from the Manufacturing Censuses," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 42(04), pages 741-774, December.
  4. Robert E. Gallman, 1986. "The United States Capital Stock in the Nineteenth Century," NBER Chapters, in: Long-Term Factors in American Economic Growth, pages 165-214 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Jeremy Atack & Fred Bateman & Robert A. Margo, 2003. "Capital Deepening in American Manufacturing, 1850-1880," NBER Working Papers 9923, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Atack, Jeremy & Bateman, Fred & Margo, Robert A., 2004. "Skill Intensity and Rising Wage Dispersion in Nineteenth-Century American Manufacturing," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 64(01), pages 172-192, March.
  7. Sokoloff, Kenneth L., 1984. "Was the transition from the artisanal shop to the nonmechanized factory associated with gains in efficiency?: Evidence from the U.S. Manufacturing censuses of 1820 and 1850," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 351-382, October.
  8. Howard Bodenhorn & Hugh Rockoff, 1992. "Regional Interest Rates in Antebellum America," NBER Chapters, in: Strategic Factors in Nineteenth Century American Economic History: A Volume to Honor Robert W. Fogel, pages 159-187 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Davis, Lance E., 1965. "The Investment Market, 1870–1914: The Evolution of a National Market," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 25(03), pages 355-399, September.
  10. Bodenhorn,Howard, 2000. "A History of Banking in Antebellum America," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521669993, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Nicolas Ziebarth, 2013. "Are China and India Backwards? Evidence from the 19th Century U.S. Census of Manufactures," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(1), pages 86-99, January.
  2. Bertocchi, Graziella & Dimico, Arcangelo, 2012. "The racial gap in education and the legacy of slavery," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(4), pages 581-595.
  3. Nicolas Ziebarth, 2011. "Are China and India Backwards? Evidence from the 19th Century U.S. Census of Manufactures," 2011 Meeting Papers 138, Society for Economic Dynamics.

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