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Productivity and transition in Swedish iron and steel, 1870-1940


  • Stefan Houpt


This paper presents a long-run analysis of an industrial branch in Europe's periphery. It examines how the Swedish iron and steel industry reacted to the strains of increasing competition on world markets which affected the branch between 1870 and 1940. The first part of the paper presents a breakdown into periods. We then go on to analyse the sources of growth with both a primal and a dual approach and look at the dynamics between factor substitution and relative prices. Finally, we examine the contribution of the different factors during the periods of transition. Overall we find total factor productivity as the main responsible force for overcoming the effects of competitive pressure. Some of this aggregate technological change can also be traced to a more intensive use of inputs and to extensive growth, indicative of structural change in the industry. Throughout the period examined the industry reacted to increased competition by process and organisational transformation.

Suggested Citation

  • Stefan Houpt, 2013. "Productivity and transition in Swedish iron and steel, 1870-1940," Scandinavian Economic History Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 61(1), pages 34-59, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:sehrxx:v:61:y:2013:i:1:p:34-59
    DOI: 10.1080/03585522.2012.748690

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    JEL classification:

    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • L61 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Metals and Metal Products; Cement; Glass; Ceramics
    • N13 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N14 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: 1913-
    • N63 - Economic History - - Manufacturing and Construction - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N64 - Economic History - - Manufacturing and Construction - - - Europe: 1913-
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence


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