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Capital Formation and Productivity Convergence over the Long Term


  • Wolff, Edward N


Catch-up in total factor productivity (TFP) among the "group of seven" was evident between 1870 adn 1979, though much slower before 1938 than after 1950. Capital:labor ratios also converged over the long period, though the process was much stronger after 1960. TFP catch-up is found to be positively associated with capital:labor growth and strongest when capital intensity is growing most rapidly. The United States overtook the United Kingdom in technological leadership in 1900 when its capital:labor growth was more than three times higher. The steady deterioration in the United Kingdom's relative TFP since 1900 and the United States' since 1950 are both associated with low rates of capital formation. Copyright 1991 by American Economic Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Wolff, Edward N, 1991. "Capital Formation and Productivity Convergence over the Long Term," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(3), pages 565-579, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:81:y:1991:i:3:p:565-79

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