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Winning the War, Losing the Peace? Britain's Post-War Recovery in a West German Mirror

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  • Eichengreen, Barry
  • Ritschl, Albrecht

Abstract

This paper places Anglo-German growth after World War II in a long-term comparative perspective. Reviewing explanations of why post-war Germany is more dynamic than Britain, we evaluate arguments stressing institutional change, catching-up, and country-specific long-term experience. Examining competition policy and macroeconomic demand management, we find only a limited role for institutional changes and an impressive degree of institutional continuity in each country. Likewise, in inter-temporal perspective the scope for catching up between Germany and Britain is unimpressive. We find growth and productivity differences to be rooted in each country’s starting position relative to its own steady state. During the 1950s, the British economy grows along a steady state established between the wars, while the German economy experiences a very pronounced rebound effect from the war shock. After its return to the steady state, German growth performance is very similar to that of Britain and by no means more impressive.

Suggested Citation

  • Eichengreen, Barry & Ritschl, Albrecht, 1998. "Winning the War, Losing the Peace? Britain's Post-War Recovery in a West German Mirror," CEPR Discussion Papers 1809, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:1809
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:pal:imfstp:v:53:y:2006:i:1:p:120-150 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Christophe Kamps, 2006. "New Estimates of Government Net Capital Stocks for 22 OECD Countries, 1960-2001," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 53(1), pages 1-6.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Britain; Germany; Institutions; post-war growth; Reconstruction;

    JEL classification:

    • N14 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: 1913-
    • O57 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries

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