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At the origins of increased productivity growth in services. Productivity, social savings and the consumer surplus of the film industry, 1900-1938

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  • Gerben Bakker

Abstract

This paper estimates and compares the benefits cinema technology generated to society in Britain, France and the US between 1900 and 1938. It is shown how cinema industrialised live entertainment, by standardisation, automation and making it tradable. The economic impact is measured in three ways: TFP-growth, social savings in 1938 and the consumer surplus enjoyed in 1938. Preliminary findings suggest that the entertainment industry accounted for 1.5 to 1.7 percent of national TFP-growth and for 0.9 to 1.6 percent of real GDP-growth in the three countries. Social savings were highest in the US (c. 2.5 billion dollars and three million workers) and relatively modest in Britain and France, possibly because of the relative abundance of skilled live-entertainment workers. Comparative social savings at entertainment PPP-ratios inflate British social savings to above the US level. Converging exchange rates and PPP price ratios suggest rapid international market integration. The paper’s methodology and findings may give insight in technological change in other service industries that were also industrialised.

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File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/22348/
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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 22348.

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Length: 89 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ehl:wpaper:22348

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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. Bakker,Gerben, 2011. "Entertainment Industrialised," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107403499, November.
  2. Mincer, Jacob, 1970. "The Distribution of Labor Incomes: A Survey with Special Reference to the Human Capital Approach," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 8(1), pages 1-26, March.
  3. Baumol, William J. & Batey Blackman, Sue Anne & Wolff, Edward N., 1984. "Unbalanced Growth Revisited: Asymptotic Stagnancy and New Evidence," Working Papers 84-02, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  4. 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.
  5. Gerben Bakker, 2003. "Building Knowledge about the Consumer: The Emergence of Market Research in the Motion Picture Industry," Business History, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(1), pages 101-127.
  6. Ros s, Joan R., 1998. "Measuring the contribution of human capital to the development of the Catalan factory system (1830 61)," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 2(01), pages 25-48, April.
  7. 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.
  8. Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "The Economics of Superstars," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(5), pages 845-58, December.
  9. Adler, Moshe, 1985. "Stardom and Talent," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 208-12, March.
  10. Jean Tirole, 1988. "The Theory of Industrial Organization," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262200716, January.
  11. Jerry Hausman, 2002. "Sources of Bias and Solutions to Bias in the CPI," NBER Working Papers 9298, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. J. Bradford DeLong, 2000. "Cornucopia: The Pace of Economic Growth in the Twentieth Century," NBER Working Papers 7602, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Gerben Bakker, 2007. "The evolution of entertainment consumption and the emergence of cinema, 1890-1940," Economic History Working Papers 22316, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
  2. Gerben Bakker, 2007. "Structural change and the growth contribution of services: how motion pictures industrialized US spectator entertainment," Economic History Working Papers 22314, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.

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