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Origins of catch-up failure: comparative productivity growth in the Hapsburg Empire, 1870-1910

  • Max-Stephan Schulze
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    This paper examines patterns of structural change and labour productivity growth in the late nineteenth-century Habsburg Empire. Using shift-share analysis and a set of basic measures to account for the contribution of physical and human capital growth, it seeks to address three questions: First, what was the role of labour productivity growth in per capita income growth? Second, to what extent can structural change account for the comparatively slow growth of the Habsburg economy in general, and Austria’s in particular? Third, how important were physical and human capital stock growth in aggregate labour productivity growth in Austria-Hungary as compared to Germany? The paper argues that, in contrast to the Hungarian experience, the size and performance of the agricultural sector imposed a severe burden on Austrian aggregate growth. Further, the evidence points to a significantly smaller contribution of TFP growth to aggregate and industrial labour productivity growth in Austria and Hungary than Germany. A proximate cause for the TFP growth differential may be found in far smaller positive externalities derived from lower initial human capital endowments in the Habsburg lands.

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    File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/22318/
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    Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History in its series Economic History Working Papers with number 22318.

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    Length: 46 pages
    Date of creation: May 2007
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:ehl:wpaper:22318
    Contact details of provider: Postal: LSE, Dept. of Economic History Houghton Street London, WC2A 2AE, U.K.
    Phone: +44 (0) 20 7955 7084
    Web page: http://www.lse.ac.uk/economicHistory/

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    1. Timmer, Marcel P. & Szirmai, Adam, 2000. "Productivity growth in Asian manufacturing: the structural bonus hypothesis examined," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 371-392, December.
    2. Ritschl Albrecht & Spoerer Mark, 1997. "Das Bruttosozialprodukt in Deutschland nach den amtlichen Volkseinkommens- und Sozialproduktsstatistiken 1901-1995," Jahrbuch für Wirtschaftsgeschichte / Economic History Yearbook, De Gruyter, vol. 38(2), pages 27-54, December.
    3. Abramovitz, Moses, 1986. "Catching Up, Forging Ahead, and Falling Behind," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 46(02), pages 385-406, June.
    4. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
    5. Maddison, Angus, 1987. "Growth and Slowdown in Advanced Capitalist Economies: Techniques of Quantitative Assessment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 25(2), pages 649-98, June.
    6. Eddie, Scott M., 1968. "Agricultural Production and Output per Worker in Hungary, 1870–1913," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 28(02), pages 197-222, June.
    7. Sandberg, Lars G., 1979. "The Case of the Impoverished Sophisticate: Human Capital and Swedish Economic Growth before World War I," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 39(01), pages 225-241, March.
    8. Kyriacou, George A., 1991. "Level and Growth Effects of Human Capital: A Cross-Country Study of the Convergence Hypothesis," Working Papers 91-26, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
    9. Schulze, Max-Stephan, 2000. "Patterns of growth and stagnation in the late nineteenth century Habsburg economy," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 4(03), pages 311-340, December.
    10. Paul M Romer, 1999. "Endogenous Technological Change," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2135, David K. Levine.
    11. Mankiw, N Gregory & Romer, David & Weil, David N, 1992. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 407-37, May.
    12. Broadberry, Stephen N., 1998. "How Did the United States and Germany Overtake Britian? A Sectoral Analysis of Comparative Productivity Levels, 1870–1990," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 58(02), pages 375-407, June.
    13. Prados de la Escosura, Leandro, 2000. "International Comparisons of Real Product, 1820-1990: An Alternative Data Set," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 1-41, January.
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