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Structural change and the growth contribution of services: how motion pictures industrialized US spectator entertainment

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  • Gerben Bakker

Abstract

This paper examines the effect of a new technology on a labour-intensive service. Comparing primal and dual TFP-growth with final-year social savings, we find that, between 1900 and 1938, motion pictures increased entertainment output (measured in spectator-hours) by at least nine percent annually, mainly through intensive growth. Falling profit margins indicate that motion pictures increased competition, while real wages rising twice the national average suggests labour captured part of the efficiency gains. Surviving live entertainment experienced some intensive growth, reached a similar capital/labour ratio but paid lower wages. These findings suggest that some services can experience similar productivity gains as manufacturing and that traditional service-activities survive the onslaught of new technologies by transforming their production structure.

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File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/22314/
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History in its series Economic History Working Papers with number 22314.

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Length: 76 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ehl:wpaper:22314

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Postal: LSE, Dept. of Economic History Houghton Street London, WC2A 2AE, U.K.
Phone: +44 (0) 20 7955 7084
Web page: http://www.lse.ac.uk/economicHistory/
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  1. White, Lawrence J, 1987. "Antitrust and Merger Policy: A Review and Critique," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 13-22, Fall.
  2. Gerben Bakker, 2004. "At the origins of increased productivity growth in services. Productivity, social savings and the consumer surplus of the film industry, 1900-1938," Economic History Working Papers 22348, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
  3. Gerben Bakker, 2003. "The decline and fall of the European film industry: sunk costs, market size and market structure, 1890-1927," Economic History Working Papers 22366, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
  4. Becker, Gary S, 1993. "Nobel Lecture: The Economic Way of Looking at Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 385-409, June.
  5. Broadberry, Stephen & Ghosal, Sayantan, 2002. "From the Counting House to the Modern Office: Explaining Anglo-American Productivity Differences in Services, 1870 1990," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 62(04), pages 967-998, December.
  6. John W. Kendrick, 1961. "Productivity Trends in the United States," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number kend61-1, May.
  7. Chris Freeman & Luc Soete, 1997. "The Economics of Industrial Innovation, 3rd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 3, volume 1, number 0262061953, December.
  8. Bakker,Gerben, 2011. "Entertainment Industrialised," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107403499, October.
  9. Abramovitz, Moses, 1993. "The Search for the Sources of Growth: Areas of Ignorance, Old and New," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 53(02), pages 217-243, June.
  10. 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.
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