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Measuring our ignorance, one book at a time: New indicators of technological change, 1909-1949

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  • Alexopoulos, Michelle
  • Cohen, Jon

Abstract

New indicators of technological change in the US based on information drawn from the catalogue of the Library of Congress for the period 1909-1949 are developed and used to pinpoint the relationship, first, between technical change and economic activity, and, second, between fluctuations in innovative activity and the Great Depression. Although links between technological change, output and productivity are found, results suggest that the slowdown in technological progress in the early 1930s did not contribute significantly to the Great Depression. On the other hand, the remarkable acceleration in innovations after 1934 did play a role in the recovery.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Monetary Economics.

Volume (Year): 56 (2009)
Issue (Month): 4 (May)
Pages: 450-470

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Handle: RePEc:eee:moneco:v:56:y:2009:i:4:p:450-470

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505566

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Keywords: Technical change Productivity Great Depression;

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  1. Harrison, Sharon G. & Weder, Mark, 2006. "Did sunspot forces cause the Great Depression?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(7), pages 1327-1339, October.
  2. Boyan Jovanovic & Peter L. Rousseau, 2005. "General Purpose Technologies," NBER Working Papers 11093, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Sims, Christopher A, 1980. "Comparison of Interwar and Postwar Business Cycles: Monetarism Reconsidered," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(2), pages 250-57, May.
  4. Susanto Basu & John Fernald & Miles Kimball, 2002. "Are Technology Improvements Contractionary?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1986, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
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  6. Christina D. Romer, 1988. "The Great Crash and the Onset of the Great Depression," NBER Working Papers 2639, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Michelle Alexopoulos, 2004. "Read All About it: What happens following a technology shock," 2004 Meeting Papers 56, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  8. Zvi Griliches, 1990. "Patent Statistics as Economic Indicators: A Survey," NBER Working Papers 3301, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Harold L. Cole & Lee E. Ohanian, 1999. "The Great Depression in the United States from a neoclassical perspective," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Win, pages 2-24.
  10. Neville Francis & Valerie A. Ramey, 2004. "The Source of Historical Economic Fluctuations: An Analysis using Long-Run Restrictions," NBER Working Papers 10631, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Paul Beaudry & Franck Portier, 2004. "Stock Prices, News and Economic Fluctuations," NBER Chapters, in: Enhancing Productivity (NBER-CEPR-TCER-Keio conference) National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. repec:fth:harver:1473 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. John Shea, 1998. "What Do Technology Shocks Do?," NBER Working Papers 6632, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Lee E. Ohanian, 2001. "Why Did Productivity Fall So Much during the Great Depression?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 34-38, May.
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  17. David Greasley & Jakob B. Madsen, 2006. "Investment and Uncertainty: Precipitating the Great Depression in the United States," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 73(291), pages 393-412, 08.
  18. Alexander J. Field, 2003. "The Most Technologically Progressive Decade of the Century," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1399-1413, September.
  19. Alexopoulos, Michelle, 2008. "Extra! Extra! Some positive technology shocks are expansionary!," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 101(3), pages 153-156, December.
  20. Evsey D. Domar, 1962. "On Total Productivity and All That," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 597.
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Blog mentions

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  1. Remember: Sticky-Wage Keynesianism is a Supply Side Theory, by Garett Jones
    by ? in Econlog on 2013-03-17 10:00:52
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Cited by:
  1. Michelle Alexopoulos & Jon Cohen, 2009. "Uncertain Times, uncertain measures," Working Papers tecipa-352, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  2. Tao Wu & Michele Cavallo, 2009. "Measuring oil-price shocks using market-based information," Working Papers 0905, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  3. Michelle Alexopoulos, 2010. "Management Matters," 2010 Meeting Papers 332, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  4. John Fernald, 2014. "Productivity and Potential Output Before, During, and After the Great Recession," NBER Working Papers 20248, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Michelle Alexopoulos & Jon Cohen, 2012. "The Effects of Computer Technologies on the Canadian Economy: Evidence from New Direct Measures," International Productivity Monitor, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, vol. 23, pages 17-32, Spring.
  6. Hashmat Khan & John Tsoukalas, 2011. "Effects of Productivity Shocks on Employment: UK Evidence (revised 25 February 2013)," Carleton Economic Papers 11-05, Carleton University, Department of Economics, revised 25 Feb 2013.

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