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Technological Change and the Roaring Twenties: A Neoclassical Perspective

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  • Sharon Harrison

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Barnard College, Columbia University)

  • Mark Weder

    ()
    (School of Economics, University of Adelaide)

Abstract

In this paper, we address the causes of the Roaring Twenties in the United States. In particular, we use a version of the real business cycle model to test the hypothesis that an extraordinary pace of productivity growth was the driving factor. Our motivation comes from the abundance of evidence of significant technological progress during this period, fed by innovations in manufacturing and the widespread introduction of electricity. Our estimated total factor productivity series generate artificial model output that shows high conformity with the data: the model economy successfully replicates the boom years from 1922-1929.

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File URL: http://www.economics.adelaide.edu.au/research/papers/doc/wp2009-29.pdf
File Function: 2009
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Adelaide, School of Economics in its series School of Economics Working Papers with number 2009-29.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:adl:wpaper:2009-29

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Postal: Adelaide SA 5005
Phone: (618) 8303 5540
Web page: http://www.economics.adelaide.edu.au/
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Keywords: real business cycles; Roaring Twenties;

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References

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  1. Ellen R. M cG rattan & Lee E. Ohanian, 2010. "Does Neoclassical Theory Account For The Effects Of Big Fiscal Shocks? Evidence From World War Ii," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 51(2), pages 509-532, 05.
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  4. Craig Burnside & Martin Eichenbaum & Sergio Rebelo, 1995. "Capital utilization and returns to scale," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 95-5, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
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  6. John W. Kendrick, 1973. "Postwar Productivity Trends in the United States, 1948-1969," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number kend73-1.
  7. Harold L. Cole & Lee E. Ohanian, 2001. "New Deal policies and the persistence of the Great Depression: a general equilibrium analysis," Working Papers 597, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  8. Mark Weder, 2006. "The Role Of Preference Shocks And Capital Utilization In The Great Depression," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(4), pages 1247-1268, November.
  9. Harrison, Sharon G & Weder, Mark, 2002. "Did Sunspot Forces Cause the Great Depression?," CEPR Discussion Papers 3267, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Field, Alexander J., 2006. "Technological Change and U.S. Productivity Growth in the Interwar Years," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 66(01), pages 203-236, March.
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  16. Oshima, Harry T., 1984. "The Growth of U.S. Factor Productivity: The Significance of New Technologies in the Early Decades of the Twentieth Century," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 44(01), pages 161-170, March.
  17. Devine, Warren D., 1983. "From Shafts to Wires: Historical Perspective on Electrification," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 43(02), pages 347-372, June.
  18. Weir, David R., 1986. "The Reliability of Historical Macroeconomic Data for Comparing Cyclical Stability," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 46(02), pages 353-365, June.
  19. John W. Kendrick, 1961. "Productivity Trends in the United States," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number kend61-1.
  20. Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "Some skeptical observations on real business cycle theory," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall, pages 23-27.
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  22. 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.
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