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The Great Merger Movement and the Diffusion of Electric Power Utilization in American Manufacturing, 1899-1909: A Simple Test of the Schumpeterian Hypothesis


  • Donald J. Smythe

    () (Department of Economics, Washington and Lee University)


The great merger movement at the turn of the century significantly increased the concentration of many American manufacturing industries. It occurred just as many of them were beginning to electrify their production processes. The conjunction of these two events suggests a simple test of Schumpeter's hypothesis that a high degree of industry concentration is conducive to rapid technological innovation. This paper uses a sample of industries from the Twelfth and Thirteenth Censuses of Manufactures to test whether the great merger movement accelerated the electrification process in American manufacturing industries. The results offer some tentative support for the Schumpeterian hypothesis.

Suggested Citation

  • Donald J. Smythe, 2001. "The Great Merger Movement and the Diffusion of Electric Power Utilization in American Manufacturing, 1899-1909: A Simple Test of the Schumpeterian Hypothesis," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 27(3), pages 253-266, Summer.
  • Handle: RePEc:eej:eeconj:v:27:y:2001:i:3:p:253-266

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Degner, Harald, 2010. "Windows of technological opportunity: do technological booms influence the relationship between firm size and innovativeness?," FZID Discussion Papers 15-2010, University of Hohenheim, Center for Research on Innovation and Services (FZID).

    More about this item


    Manufactures; Manufacturing; Merger;

    JEL classification:

    • N61 - Economic History - - Manufacturing and Construction - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
    • L94 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Electric Utilities
    • L60 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - General
    • G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance
    • N81 - Economic History - - Micro-Business History - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913


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