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The Resolution of the Labor-Scarcity Paradox

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  • James, John A.
  • Skinner, Jonathan S.

Abstract

Many distinguished foreign visitors to the United States in the 1850s commented on the advanced states of mechanization in manufacturing. But why, at the same time, were interest rates higher and the aggregate manufacturing capital stock lower in American than in Britain? We resolve this paradox by noting that British engineers were most impressed by only those industries which relied on skilled workers. Using production parameters estimated from 1849 census data, we develop a computable general equilibrium model of the American and British economies which reconciles the apparently contradictory evidence.

Suggested Citation

  • James, John A. & Skinner, Jonathan S., 1985. "The Resolution of the Labor-Scarcity Paradox," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 45(3), pages 513-540, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:45:y:1985:i:03:p:513-540_03
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