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An Annual Index of U. S. Industrial Production, 1790–1915

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  • Joseph H. Davis

Abstract

As a remedy for the notorious deficiency of pre-Civil War U. S. macroeconomic data, this study introduces an annual index of American industrial production consistently defined from 1790 until World War I. The index incorporates 43 quantity-based annual series (most entirely new) in the manufacturing and mining industries in a manner similar to the Federal Reserve Board's monthly industrial production index. The index changes our view of the growth and volatility of the U. S. economy before World War I. A direct implication of the index is that antebellum-postbellum differences in industrial volatility are statistically indistinguishable. The index also demonstrates that the pernicious deflationary depressions that purportedly followed the financial panics in 1837 and 1873 were actually rather mild recessions when expressed in real output.

Suggested Citation

  • Joseph H. Davis, 2004. "An Annual Index of U. S. Industrial Production, 1790–1915," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(4), pages 1177-1215.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:119:y:2004:i:4:p:1177-1215.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1162/0033553042476143
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    1. repec:jed:journl:v:42:y:2017:i:3:p:1-16 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Hogan, Thomas L., 2015. "Has the Fed improved U.S. economic performance?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 257-266.
    3. Rui Manuel Pereira, Alfredo Marvao Pereira and William J. Hausman, 2017. "Railroad Infrastructure Investments and Economic Development in the Antebellum United States," Journal of Economic Development, Chung-Ang Unviersity, Department of Economics, vol. 42(3), pages 1-16, September.
    4. Michael Bordo & Andrew Filardo, 2005. "Deflation and monetary policy in a historical perspective: remembering the past or being condemned to repeat it?," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 20(44), pages 799-844, October.
    5. Daniel Kaufmann, 2016. "Is Deflation Costly After All? Evidence from Noisy Historical Data," KOF Working papers 16-421, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
    6. repec:pal:easeco:v:44:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1057_s41302-017-0092-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Ferrie, Joseph & Rolf, Karen, 2011. "Socioeconomic status in childhood and health after age 70: A new longitudinal analysis for the U.S., 1895–2005," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 48(4), pages 445-460.
    8. Selgin, George & Lastrapes, William D. & White, Lawrence H., 2012. "Has the Fed been a failure?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 569-596.
    9. Kupiec, Paul H. & Ramirez, Carlos D., 2013. "Bank failures and the cost of systemic risk: Evidence from 1900 to 1930," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 285-307.
    10. Jeffrey Miron, 2013. "Should Policy Attempt to Avoid Financial Crises?," Cato Journal, Cato Journal, Cato Institute, vol. 33(3), pages 391-399, Fall.
    11. Cantillo, Miguel, 2016. "Villains or Heroes? Private Banks and Railroads after the Sherman Act," MPRA Paper 79354, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. repec:ebl:ecbull:eb-15-00420 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Ellis W. Tallman, 2012. "The Panic of 1907," Working Paper 1228, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    14. Giesecke, Kay & Longstaff, Francis A. & Schaefer, Stephen & Strebulaev, Ilya A., 2014. "Macroeconomic effects of corporate default crisis: A long-term perspective," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(2), pages 297-310.

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