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Understanding West German economic growth in the 1950s

  • Barry Eichengreen

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA)

  • Albrecht Ritschl

    (Department of Economic History, London School of Economics, London, UK)

We evaluate explanations for why Germany grew so quickly in the 1950s. The recent literature has emphasized convergence, structural change and institutional shake-up while minimizing the importance of the postwar shock. We show that this shock and its consequences were more important than neoclassical convergence and structural change in explaining the rapid growth of the West German economy in the 1950s. We find little support for the hypothesis of institutional shakeup. This suggests a different interpretation of post-World War II German economic growth than features in much of the literature.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11698-008-0035-7
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Article provided by Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC) in its journal Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History.

Volume (Year): 3 (2009)
Issue (Month): 3 (October)
Pages: 191-219

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Handle: RePEc:afc:cliome:v:3:y:2009:i:3:p:191-219
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.cliometrie.org

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  1. Broadberry, S.N. & Crafts, N.R.F., 1990. "Britain'S Productivity Gap In The 1930s : Some Neglected Factors," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 364, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  2. Broadberry S. N. & Ritschl A., 1995. "Real Wages, Productivity, and Unemployment in Britain and Germany during the 1920's," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 327-349, July.
  3. Lindlar, Ludger & Holtfrerich, Carl-Ludwig, 1997. "Geography, exchange rates and trade structures: Germany's export performance since the 1950s," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(02), pages 217-246, August.
  4. Ritschl Albrecht & Spoerer Mark, 1997. "Das Bruttosozialprodukt in Deutschland nach den amtlichen Volkseinkommens- und Sozialproduktsstatistiken 1901-1995," Jahrbuch für Wirtschaftsgeschichte / Economic History Yearbook, De Gruyter, vol. 38(2), pages 27-54, December.
  5. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521566087 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521400596 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Broadberry, Stephen N, 1992. "Manufacturing and the Convergence Hypothesis: What the Long Run Data Show," CEPR Discussion Papers 708, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Abramovitz, Moses, 1986. "Catching Up, Forging Ahead, and Falling Behind," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 46(02), pages 385-406, June.
  9. Temple, Jonathan, 2001. "Structural Change and Europe's Golden Age," CEPR Discussion Papers 2861, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Temin, Peter, 2002. "The Golden Age of European growth reconsidered," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(01), pages 3-22, April.
  11. Booth, Alan & Melling, Joseph & Dartmann, Christoph, 1997. "Institutions and Economic Growth: The Politics of Productivity in West Germany, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, 1945–1955," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 57(02), pages 416-444, June.
  12. Crafts, Nicholas & Toniolo, Gianni, 1995. "Post-war Growth: An Overview," CEPR Discussion Papers 1095, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Buchheim, Christoph & Scherner, Jonas, 2006. "The Role of Private Property in the Nazi Economy: The Case of Industry," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 66(02), pages 390-416, June.
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