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Twentieth Century Growth


  • Crafts, Nicholas

    (University of Warwick)

  • O’Rourke Hjortshøj, Kevin

    (All Souls College, Oxford)


This paper surveys the experience of economic growth in the 20th century with a focus on technological change at the frontier together with issues related to success and failure in catch-up growth. A detailed account of growth performance based on historical national accounts data is given and is accompanied by a review of growth accounting evidence on the sources of economic growth. The key features of our analysis of divergence in growth outcomes are an emphasis on the importance of ‘directed’ technical change, of institutional quality, and of geography. We provide brief case studies of the experience of individual countries to illustrate these points.

Suggested Citation

  • Crafts, Nicholas & O’Rourke Hjortshøj, Kevin, 2013. "Twentieth Century Growth," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 153, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  • Handle: RePEc:cge:wacage:153

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Harald Edquist, 2010. "Does hedonic price indexing change our interpretation of economic history? Evidence from Swedish electrification," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 63(2), pages 500-523, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. A. Bergeaud & G. Cette & R. Lecat, 2015. "GDP per capita in advanced countries over the 20th century," Working papers 549, Banque de France.
    2. Antonin Bergeaud & Gilbert Cette & Rémy Lecat, 2014. "Le produit intérieur brut par habitant sur longue période en France et dans les pays avancés : le rôle de la productivité et de l’emploi," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 474(1), pages 5-34.
    3. Bergeaud, A. & Cette, G. & Lecat, R., 2015. "Productivity trends from 1890 to 2012 in advanced countries," Rue de la Banque, Banque de France, issue 07, June..
    4. Gilbert Cette & Rémy Lecat & Carole Ly-Marin, 2017. "Long-term growth and productivity projections in advanced countries," OECD Journal: Economic Studies, OECD Publishing, vol. 2016(1), pages 71-90.
    5. Cette, Gilbert & Fernald, John & Mojon, Benoît, 2016. "The pre-Great Recession slowdown in productivity," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 3-20.
    6. Gilbert Cette, 2014. "Does ICT Remain a Powerful Engine of Growth," Post-Print hal-01463929, HAL.
    7. A. Bergeaud & G. Cette & R. Lecat, 2016. "The role of production factor quality and technology diffusion in 20th century productivity growth," Working papers 588, Banque de France.

    More about this item


    catch-up growth; divergence; growth accounting; technical change;

    JEL classification:

    • N10 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth
    • 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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