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Productivity growth in the Industrial Revolution: a new growth accounting perspective

  • Nicholas Crafts

The issue of why productivity growth during the British industrial revolution was slow despite the arrival of famous inventions is revisited using a growth accounting methodology based on an endogenous innovation model and the perspective of recent literature on general purpose technologies. The results show that steam had a relatively small and long-delayed impact on productivity growth when benchmarked against later technologies such as electricity or ICT. Even so, technological change including embodiment effects accounted entirely for the acceleration in labor productivity growth that allowed the economy to withstand rapid population growth without a decline in living standards.

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Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in its journal Proceedings.

Volume (Year): (2002)
Issue (Month): Nov ()
Pages:

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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfpr:y:2002:i:nov:x:1
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  1. Nicholas Oulton, 2002. "ICT and Productivity Growth in the United Kingdom," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(3), pages 363-379.
  2. John W. Kanefsky, 1979. "Motive Power in British Industry and the Accuracy of the 1870 Factory Return," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 32(3), pages 360-375, 08.
  3. Greasley, David & Oxley, Les, 1997. "Endogenous Growth or “Big Bang”: Two views of the First Industrial Revolution," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 57(04), pages 935-949, December.
  4. Robert J. Barro & Paul Romer, 1993. "Economic Growth," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number barr93-1, October.
    • Robert J. Barro & Paul M. Romer, 1991. "Economic Growth," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number barr91-1, October.
  5. Crafts, Nicholas & Venables, Anthony J, 2001. "Globalization in History: A Geographical Perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers 3079, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. David, P.A., 1989. "Computer And Dynamo: The Modern Productivity Paradox In A Not-Too Distant Mirror," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 339, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  7. Dale W. Jorgenson & Kevin J. Stiroh, 2000. "Raising the Speed Limit: US Economic Growth in the Information Age," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 261, OECD Publishing.
  8. Paul M Romer, 1999. "Increasing Returns and Long-Run Growth," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2232, David K. Levine.
  9. Antras, Pol & Voth, Hans-Joachim, 2003. "Factor prices and productivity growth during the British industrial revolution," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 52-77, January.
  10. Crafts, N. F. R. & Mills, Terence C., 1997. "Endogenous Innovation, Trend Growth, and the British Industrial Revolution: Reply to Greasley and Oxley," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 57(04), pages 950-956, December.
  11. M. Blaug, 1961. "The Productivity Of Capital In The Lancashire Cotton Industry During The Nineteenth Century," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 13(3), pages 358-381, 04.
  12. N. F. R. Crafts & C. K. Harley, 1992. "Output growth and the British industrial revolution: a restatement of the Crafts-Harley view," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 45(4), pages 703-730, November.
  13. Crafts, N. F. R., 1995. "Exogenous or Endogenous Growth? The Industrial Revolution Reconsidered," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 55(04), pages 745-772, December.
  14. Harberger, Arnold C, 1998. "A Vision of the Growth Process," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 1-32, March.
  15. Kevin J. Stiroh, 2001. "Information technology and the U.S. productivity revival: what do the industry data say?," Staff Reports 115, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  16. Robert J. Barro, 1998. "Notes on Growth Accounting," NBER Working Papers 6654, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Devine, Warren D., 1983. "From Shafts to Wires: Historical Perspective on Electrification," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 43(02), pages 347-372, June.
  18. Crafts, N. F. R., 1980. "National income estimates and the British standard of living debate: A reappraisal of 1801-1831," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 176-188, April.
  19. Harley, C. Knick, 1982. "British Industrialization Before 1841: Evidence of Slower Growth During the Industrial Revolution," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 42(02), pages 267-289, June.
  20. Dirk Pilat & Frank C. Lee, 2001. "Productivity Growth in ICT-producing and ICT-using Industries: A Source of Growth Differentials in the OECD?," OECD Science, Technology and Industry Working Papers 2001/4, OECD Publishing.
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