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Alternative Paths of Learning: Standardisation and Growth in Britain, 1901-2009

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This paper considers the contribution of voluntary consensus based standards, as developed through the British Standards Institution (BSI), to collective learning and productivity growth in Britain. It discusses the pivotal contribution of professional engineers to the establishment of a committee based national standards setting body that developed an important model of consensus standardisation. This model was imitated into new areas at home and overseas. We argue that by 1931 the catalogue of BSI standards represented a considerable stock of codifed knowledge whose growth reflected that of underlying aggregate technological advance. This claim is validated by its successful incorporation into an econometric model that suggests that this mode of standardisation has made a significant contribution to productivity growth in Britain.

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File URL: http://www.lboro.ac.uk/departments/sbe/RePEc/lbo/lbowps/Spencer_Temple__WP2012_10.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Loughborough University in its series Discussion Paper Series with number 2012_10.

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Date of creation: Oct 2012
Date of revision: Oct 2012
Handle: RePEc:lbo:lbowps:2012_10

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Postal: Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE11 3TU
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Web page: http://www.lboro.ac.uk/departments/sbe/research/economics/index.html
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Keywords: standards; technological change; productivity;

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