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Believe it or not! The 1930s was a technologically progressive decade

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  • Michelle Alexopoulos

    (University of Toronto)

Abstract

We present new indicators of technological change for the period 1909-49 for the U.S. based on information contained in the Library of Congress’ catalogue. We use these indictors to estimate the connections between technological change and economic activity, and investigate the relationship between fluctuations in innovative activity and the Great Depression. We find: (1) statistically significant links between technological change, output and productivity, (2) the slowdown in technological progress in the early 1930s does not appear to have contributed significantly to the Great Depression, and (3) the remarkable acceleration in technical change after 1934 played a role in the recovery.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2007 Meeting Papers with number 195.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed007:195

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Postal: Society for Economic Dynamics Christian Zimmermann Economic Research Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis PO Box 442 St. Louis MO 63166-0442 USA
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Web page: http://www.EconomicDynamics.org/society.htm
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  1. John Shea, 1998. "What Do Technology Shocks Do?," NBER Working Papers 6632, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Neville Francis & Valerie A. Ramey, 2004. "The Source of Historical Economic Fluctuations: An Analysis using Long-Run Restrictions," NBER Working Papers 10631, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Simon Kuznets & Elizabeth Jenks, 1961. "Capital in the American Economy: Its Formation and Financing," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number kuzn61-1, October.
  4. Michelle Alexopoulos, 2011. "Read All about It!! What Happens Following a Technology Shock?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(4), pages 1144-79, June.
  5. Simon Kuznets & Elizabeth Jenks, 1961. "Appendices and Index to "Capital in the American Economy: Its Formation and Financing"," NBER Chapters, in: Capital in the American Economy: Its Formation and Financing, pages 465-664 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Lee E. Ohanian, 2001. "Why did productivity fall so much during the Great Depression?," Staff Report 285, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  7. John W. Kendrick, 1961. "Productivity Trends in the United States," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number kend61-1, October.
  8. Simon Kuznets & Elizabeth Jenks, 1961. "Introduction to "Capital in the American Economy: Its Formation and Financing"," NBER Chapters, in: Capital in the American Economy: Its Formation and Financing, pages 3-14 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Peter Temin, 1991. "Lessons from the Great Depression," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262700441.
  10. Sullivan, Richard J., 1984. "Measurement of English farming technological change, 1523-1900," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 270-289, July.
  11. Harold L. Cole & Lee E. Ohanian, 2004. "New Deal Policies and the Persistence of the Great Depression: A General Equilibrium Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(4), pages 779-816, August.
  12. Simon Kuznets & Elizabeth Jenks, 1961. "Summary of Findings," NBER Chapters, in: Capital in the American Economy: Its Formation and Financing, pages 389-428 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Cosmin L. Ilut & Lawrence J. Christiano & Roberto Motto & Massimo Rostagno, 2010. "Monetary Policy and Stock Market Booms," Working Papers 10-69, Duke University, Department of Economics.

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