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Electricity Diffusion and Trend Acceleration in Inter-War Manufacturing Productivity

Author

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  • Ristuccia , C.A.
  • Solomou, S.

Abstract

This paper evaluates the link between the diffusion of electricity and the increase in labour productivity growth in the manufacturing sector during the inter-war period. A comparative analysis of the USA, Britain, Germany, and Japan shows that the trend acceleration in labour productivity is common to all these countries except Germany and is correlated with electricity diffusion. Germany’s labour productivity growth was nevertheless sustained in 1925 - 1938. The USA saw an earlier acceleration because the diffusion of electricity-based general-purpose technologies in production was much faster than in the other countries examined.

Suggested Citation

  • Ristuccia , C.A. & Solomou, S., 2002. "Electricity Diffusion and Trend Acceleration in Inter-War Manufacturing Productivity," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0202, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  • Handle: RePEc:cam:camdae:0202
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    File URL: http://www.econ.cam.ac.uk/research-files/repec/cam/pdf/wp0202.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Paul A. David & Gavin Wright, 1999. "Early Twentieth Century Productivity Growth Dynamics: An Inquiry into the Economic History of "Our Ignorance"," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _033, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
    2. Paul A. David & Gavin Wright, "undated". "General Purpose Technologies and Surges in Productivity: Historical Reflections on the Future of the ICT Revolution," Working Papers 99026, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    economic growth; economic history; productivity; long swings;

    JEL classification:

    • N11 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
    • N12 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
    • 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-
    • N60 - Economic History - - Manufacturing and Construction - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

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