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Resolving the Anglo-German Industrial Productivity Puzzle, 1895-1935 : A Response to Professor Ritschl

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  • Broadberry, Stephen

    (Department of Economics, University of Warwick,)

  • Burhop, Carsten

    (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods)

Abstract

This paper offers a critical appraisal of the claim of Ritschl (2008) to have found a “possible resolution” to what he calls the “Anglo-German industrial productivity puzzle”. To understand the origins of this term, it is necessary to describe some recent developments in comparisons of industrial labour productivity between Britain and Germany. The Anglo-German industrial productivity puzzle really arose as the result of a new industrial production index produced by Ritschl (2004), which differed very substantially from the widely used index of Hoffmann (1965). Broadberry and Burhop (2007) pointed out that if the Ritschl (2004) index is combined with an index of German employment from Hoffmann (1965) and time series of UK output and employment from Feinstein (1972), it implies an implausibly high German labour productivity lead over Britain in 1907, when projected back from a widely accepted Germany/UK labour productivity benchmark for 1935/36.

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Paper provided by University of Warwick, Department of Economics in its series The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) with number 848.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:848

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  1. Ritschl, Albrecht, 2004. "Spurious Growth in German Output Data, 1913-1938," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 4429, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Tim Leunig, 2003. "A British industrial success: productivity in the Lancashire and New England cotton spinning industries a century ago," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library 494, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  3. Broadberry, Stephen N, 1992. "Manufacturing and the Convergence Hypothesis: What the Long Run Data Show," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 708, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Broadberry, S N & Fremdling, Rainer, 1990. "Comparative Productivity in British and German Industry 1907-37," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 52(4), pages 403-21, Special I.
  5. Broadberry, Stephen & Burhop, Carsten, 2007. "Comparative Productivity in British and German Manufacturing Before World War II: Reconciling Direct Benchmark Estimates and Time Series Projections," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, vol. 67(02), pages 315-349, June.
  6. Fremdling Rainer, 2007. "German Industrial Employment 1925,1933,1936 and 1939. A New Benchmark for 1936 and a Note on Hoffmann's Tales," Jahrbuch für Wirtschaftsgeschichte / Economic History Yearbook, De Gruyter, De Gruyter, vol. 48(2), pages 171-196, December.
  7. Fremdling, Rainer & Jong, Herman de & Timmer, Marcel P., 2007. "Censuses compared. A New Benchmark for British and German Manufacturing 1935/1936," GGDC Research Memorandum, Groningen Growth and Development Centre, University of Groningen GD-90, Groningen Growth and Development Centre, University of Groningen.
  8. Albrecht Ritschl, 2008. "The Anglo-German productivity puzzle, 1895-1935: a restatement and a possible resolution," Economic History Working Papers, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History 22309, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
  9. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521584401 is not listed on IDEAS
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