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Biased Technical Change, Scale, and Factor Substitution in American Industry, 1850–1919

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  • Cain, Louis P.
  • Paterson, Donald G.

Abstract

Biased technical change, scale economies, and factor substitution were part of U.S. manufacturing's technical response to factor price movements during the period 1850 to 1919. In this article we employ the cost dual of a Generalized Leontief production function to test directly for the presence of these three effects for nineteen two-digit manufacturing sectors. Biased technical change is found in all but one sector; scale economies in all but two; factor substitutability, in all but five. Estimates of scale and bias effects for labor, capital, and materials are presented by sector, and the results are compared with other recent work.

Suggested Citation

  • Cain, Louis P. & Paterson, Donald G., 1986. "Biased Technical Change, Scale, and Factor Substitution in American Industry, 1850–1919," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 46(1), pages 153-164, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:46:y:1986:i:01:p:153-164_04
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    Cited by:

    1. Crafts, Nicholas, 2010. "The contribution of new technology to economic growth: lessons from economic history," Revista de Historia Económica / Journal of Iberian and Latin American Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 28(3), pages 409-440, December.
    2. Markus Poschke, 2018. "The Firm Size Distribution across Countries and Skill-Biased Change in Entrepreneurial Technology," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 10(3), pages 1-41, July.
    3. Crafts, Nicholas, 2012. "British relative economic decline revisited: The role of competition," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 17-29.
    4. Crafts, Nicholas, 2011. "British Relative Economic Decline Revisited," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 42, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    5. Susan B. Carter & Richard Sutch, 1997. "Historical Perspectives on the Economic Consequences of Immigration into the United States," NBER Historical Working Papers 0106, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Frey, Carl Benedikt & Osborne, Michael A., 2017. "The future of employment: How susceptible are jobs to computerisation?," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 254-280.
    7. Stephen Broadberry & Bishnupriya Gupta, 2009. "Lancashire, India, and shifting competitive advantage in cotton textiles, 1700–1850: the neglected role of factor prices1," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 62(2), pages 279-305, May.
    8. Korkut Alp Erturk, 2019. "Where Did Good Jobs Go? Acemoglu and Marx on Induced (Skill Replacing) Technical Change," Working Paper Series, Department of Economics, University of Utah 2019_02, University of Utah, Department of Economics.
    9. Crafts, Nicholas & O’Rourke, Kevin Hjortshøj, 2014. "Twentieth Century Growth*This research has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) / ERC grant agreement no. 249546.," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 6, pages 263-346, Elsevier.
    10. Nicholas Crafts, 2010. "Cliometrics and technological change: a survey," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(5), pages 1127-1147.
    11. Korkut Erturk, 2015. "Economics of Unlimited Supply of Labor and Asymmetric Power," Working Paper Series, Department of Economics, University of Utah 2015_01, University of Utah, Department of Economics.

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