Were British railway companies well-managed in the early twentieth century?
AbstractThis is a revised version of a previous working paper, of the same name, which incorporates corrections to errors in our estimates of TFP growth. This paper examines major privately-owned British railway companies before World War I. Quantitative evidence is presented on return on capital employed, total factor productivity growth, cost inefficiency, and speed of passenger services. There were discrepancies in performance across companies but ROCE and TFP typically fell during our period. Cost inefficiency rose before 1900 but then was brought under control as a profits collapse loomed. Without the discipline of either strong competition or effective regulation, managerial failure was common. This sector is an important qualification to the conventional wisdom that late-Victorian Britain did not fail.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History in its series Economic History Working Papers with number 27889.
Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2010
Date of revision:
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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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Find related papers by JEL classification:
- N0 - Economic History - - General
- L91 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Transportation: General
- L96 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Telecommunications
- B1 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925
- O52 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Europe
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- Crafts, Nicholas, 2011.
"British Relative Economic Decline Revisited,"
CAGE Online Working Paper Series
42, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
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