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Productivity in U.S. Railroads, 1951-1974


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  • Douglas W. Caves
  • Laurits R. Christensen
  • Joseph A. Swanson


This paper develops estimates of U.S. railroad productivity by using methods based on the neoclassical theory of production. We find that railroad productivity grew at the average annual rate of 1.5 percent per year during the 1951-1974 period. Using conventional measurement procedures for comparison, we find productivity growth of 3.6 percent per year. The lower estimate of 1.5 percent is the result of using procedures which better represent the railroad production process. These include using (1) estimated cost elasticities, rather than revenue shares, as output weights, (2) actual cost shares, rather than national income shares, as input weights, and (3) input and output weights which change annually.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by The RAND Corporation in its journal Bell Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 11 (1980)
Issue (Month): 1 (Spring)
Pages: 166-181

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Handle: RePEc:rje:bellje:v:11:y:1980:i:spring:p:166-181

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Cited by:
  1. Eero Lehto, 1990. "Productivity in the Finnish customs," Finnish Economic Papers, Finnish Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 134-145, Autumn.
  2. Richard Barke & William Riker, 1982. "A political theory of regulation with some observations on railway abandonments," Public Choice, Springer, Springer, vol. 39(1), pages 73-106, January.
  3. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00574977 is not listed on IDEAS


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