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Technological Leadership and Productivity Leadership in Manufacturing since the Industrial Revolution: Implications for the Convergence Debate


  • Broadberry, S N


The United States has been the labor productivity leader in manufacturing since the early nineteenth century despite changes in technological leadership from Britain to the United States and then to Germany and Japan. U.S. productivity leadership is based on the more widespread use of mass production rather than craft production methods, determined by resource and factor endowments and demand patterns. The two systems can coexist so long as the technologically lagging system imitates and adapts. Changes in the relative dynamism of the two systems explain changes in technological leadership but without necessarily leading to changes in productivity leadership. Copyright 1994 by Royal Economic Society.

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  • Broadberry, S N, 1994. "Technological Leadership and Productivity Leadership in Manufacturing since the Industrial Revolution: Implications for the Convergence Debate," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(423), pages 291-302, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:104:y:1994:i:423:p:291-302

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Nakabayashi, Masaki, 2011. "Schooling, employer learning, and internal labor market effect: Wage dynamics and human capital investment in the Japanese steel industry, 1930-1960s," MPRA Paper 30597, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Crafts, Nicholas, 2010. "The contribution of new technology to economic growth: lessons from economic history," Revista de Historia Económica, Cambridge University Press, vol. 28(03), pages 409-440, December.
    3. Cristopher Spencer & Paul Temple, 2013. "Standards, Learning and Growth in Britain 1901-2009," School of Economics Discussion Papers 0613, School of Economics, University of Surrey.
    4. Gavin Cameron, 2005. "The Sun Also Rises: Productivity Convergence Between Japan and the USA," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 10(4), pages 387-408, December.
    5. Stephen Redding, 2002. "Path Dependence, Endogenous Innovation, and Growth," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 43(4), pages 1215-1248, November.
    6. NAKABAYASHI, Masaki, 2008. "Imposed Efficiency of Treaty Port: Japanese Industrialization and Western Imperialist Institutions," ISS Discussion Paper Series (series F) f142, Institute of Social Science, The University of Tokyo, revised 15 Jun 2012.
    7. Nicholas Crafts, 1998. "Forging Ahead and Falling Behind: The Rise and Relative Decline of the First Industrial Nation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 193-210, Spring.
    8. Rensman, Marieke, 1996. "Economic growth and technological change in the long run : a survey of theoretical and empirical literature," Research Report 96C10, University of Groningen, Research Institute SOM (Systems, Organisations and Management).
    9. repec:dgr:rugsom:96c10 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Broadberry, Stephen & Klein, Alexander, 2011. "When and why did eastern European economies begin to fail? Lessons from a Czechoslovak/UK productivity comparison, 1921-1991," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 37-52, January.
    11. Boschma, Ron A., 1999. "The rise of clusters of innovative industries in Belgium during the industrial epoch," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(8), pages 853-871, November.
    12. Greasley, David & Oxley, Les, 1998. "Comparing British and American Economic and Industrial Performance 1860-1993: A Time Series Perspective," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 171-195, April.
    13. Joost Veenstra & Herman de Jong, 2015. "A Tale of Two Tails: Plant Size Variation and Comparative Labor Productivity in U.S. and German Manufacturing in the Early 20th Century," CEH Discussion Papers 032, Centre for Economic History, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
    14. Christopher Spencer & Paul Temple, 2012. "Alternative Paths of Learning: Standardisation and Growth in Britain, 1901-2009," Discussion Paper Series 2012_10, Department of Economics, Loughborough University, revised Oct 2012.
    15. Broadberry, Stephen & Fukao, Kyoji & Zammit, Nick, 2015. "How Did Japan Catch-up On The West? A Sectoral Analysis Of Anglo-Japanese Productivity Differences, 1885-2000," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 231, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    16. Broadberry, S. N., 1995. "Comparative productivity levels in manufacturing since the Industrial Revolution: Lessons from Britain, America, Germany and Japan," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 71-95, March.
    17. 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.
    18. Ahmed S. Rahman, 2010. "An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Industrialization," Departmental Working Papers 27, United States Naval Academy Department of Economics.

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