The Paradox of Planning: The Controlled Materials Plan of World War II
AbstractAccording to most standard accounts of the mobilization of the U.S. economy in World War II, things started out badly because the agency nominally in charge, the War Production Board, lacked sufficient authority and relied on faulty techniques. But then the War Production Board installed the famous Controlled Materials Plan, a form of central planning, which solved the major problems and turned disaster into triumph. Here we re-examine the Plan and argue that it was too little and too late to account for the success of the mobilization. As an alternative we argue that the delay in the flow of munitions may simply have been the inevitable result of time-to-build and that a good deal of coordination happened through the market. The appropriate historical analogy may not be form of European central planning, but rather the American gold rush of 1849.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Historical Working Papers with number 0083.
Date of creation: May 1996
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- N42 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
You can help add them by filling out this form.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.