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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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References

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  1. Lee E. Ohanian, 2001. "Why did productivity fall so much during the Great Depression?," Staff Report 285, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  2. Miles S. Kimball & John G. Fernald & Susanto Basu, 2006. "Are Technology Improvements Contractionary?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1418-1448, December.
  3. Burbidge, John & Harrison, Alan, 1985. "An historical decomposition of the great depression to determine the role of money," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 45-54, July.
  4. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum, 1989. "Unit roots in real GNP: do we know, and do we care?," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 18, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  5. Peter L. Rousseau & Boyan Jovanovic, 2004. "General Purpose Technologies," 2004 Meeting Papers 103, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "Patent Statistics as Economic Indicators: A Survey," NBER Chapters, in: R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence, pages 287-343 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Alexopoulos, Michelle, 2008. "Extra! Extra! Some positive technology shocks are expansionary!," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 101(3), pages 153-156, December.
  10. 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.
  11. Greasley, David & Madsen, Jakob B. & Oxley, Les, 2001. "Income Uncertainty and Consumer Spending during the Great Depression," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 225-251, April.
  12. Harrison, Sharon G & Weder, Mark, 2002. "Did Sunspot Forces Cause the Great Depression?," CEPR Discussion Papers 3267, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. 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.
  14. Michelle Alexopoulos, 2004. "Read All About it: What happens following a technology shock," 2004 Meeting Papers 56, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  15. repec:fth:harver:1473 is not listed on IDEAS
  16. Romer, Christina D, 1990. "The Great Crash and the Onset of the Great Depression," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(3), pages 597-624, August.
  17. John Shea, 1999. "What Do Technology Shocks Do?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1998, volume 13, pages 275-322 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Bresnahan, Timothy F. & Raff, Daniel M. G., 1991. "Intra-Industry Heterogeneity and the Great Depression: The American Motor Vehicles Industry, 1929–1935," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 51(02), pages 317-331, June.
  19. Neville Francis & Valerie A. Ramey, 2006. "The Source of Historical Economic Fluctuations: An Analysis Using Long-Run Restrictions," NBER Chapters, in: NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2004, pages 17-73 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Evsey D. Domar, 1962. "On Total Productivity and All That," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 597.
  21. 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.
  22. John W. Kendrick, 1961. "Productivity Trends in the United States," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number kend61-1, May.
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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. Jon Cohen & Michelle Alexopoulos, 2009. "Uncertain Times, Uncertain Measures," 2009 Meeting Papers 1211, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. 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.
  3. Fernald, John G., 2014. "Productivity and potential output before, during, and after the Great Recession," Working Paper Series 2014-15, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  4. Tao Wu & Michele Cavallo, 2009. "Measuring oil-price shocks using market-based information," Working Papers 0905, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  5. Michelle Alexopoulos, 2010. "Management Matters," 2010 Meeting Papers 332, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  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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