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A Vision of the Growth Process in a Technologically Progressive Economy: the United States, 1899-1941

Listed author(s):
  • Bakker, Gerben
  • Crafts, Nicholas
  • Woltjer, Pieter

We develop new aggregate and sectoral total factor productivity (TFP) estimates for the United States between 1899 and 1941 through better coverage of sectors and better measured labor quality, and show TFP growth was lower than previously thought, broadly based across sectors, strongly variant inter-temporally, and consistent with many diverse sources of innovation. we then test and reject three prominent claims. First, the 1930s did not have the highest TFP growth of the twentieth century. Second, TFP growth was not predominantly caused by four leading sectors. Third, TFP growth was not caused by a 'yeast process' originating in a dominant technology such as electricity.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 10995.

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Date of creation: Dec 2015
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:10995
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  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. Nicholas Crafts, 2004. "Steam as a general purpose technology: A growth accounting perspective," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(495), pages 338-351, 04.
  3. Bakker, Gerben, 2013. "Money for nothing: How firms have financed R&D-projects since the Industrial Revolution," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(10), pages 1793-1814.
  4. David M. Byrne & Stephen D. Oliner & Daniel E. Sichel, 2013. "Is the Information Technology Revolution Over?," International Productivity Monitor, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, vol. 25, pages 20-36, Spring.
  5. Stiroh, Kevin J, 2002. "Are ICT Spillovers Driving the New Economy?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 48(1), pages 33-57, March.
  6. Petra Moser & Alessandra Voena & Fabian Waldinger, 2014. "German Jewish ?migr?s and US Invention," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(10), pages 3222-3255, October.
  7. Bakker, Gerben, 2012. "How Motion Pictures Industrialized Entertainment," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 72(04), pages 1036-1063, December.
  8. Petra Moser & Alessandra Voena & Fabian Waldinger, 2014. "German Jewish émigrés and US invention," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 68322, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  9. repec:aei:rpaper:37301 is not listed on IDEAS
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