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Total factor productivity growth on Britain's railways, 1852-1912: a reappraisal of the evidence

  • Nicholas Crafts
  • Terence C. Mills
  • Abay Mulatu

This paper revisits the issue of the productivity performance of pre-World War I Britain’s railway system with an improved dataset and with modern time-series econometrics. We find a slowdown in TFP growth between 1850 and 1870, after which it stabilized at about 1.1%. An analysis of company-level productivity rejects the claims that there was a regulation-induced revival of productivity performance in the railway sector after 1900 but, on the other hand, it supports the claim that there was some managerial failure during the period.

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File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/22553/
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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 22553.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ehl:wpaper:22553
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. Broadberry,Stephen, 2006. "Market Services and the Productivity Race, 1850–2000," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521867184.
  2. Ivaldi, M & McCullough, G J, 2001. "Density and Integration Effects on Class I U.S. Freight Railroads," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 161-82, March.
  3. Mehdi Farsi & Massimo Filippini & William Greene, 2005. "Efficiency Measurement in Network Industries: Application to the Swiss Railway Companies," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 28(1), pages 69-90, 07.
  4. Crafts, Nicholas & Mills, Terence C., 2004. "Was 19th century British growth steam-powered?: the climacteric revisited," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 156-171, April.
  5. N. F. R. Crafts & T. C. Mills, 1994. "The industrial revolution as a macroeconomic epoch: an alternative view," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 47(4), pages 769-775, November.
  6. Stephen Nickell, 1993. "Competition and Corporate Performance," CEP Discussion Papers dp0182, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  7. McCloskey, Donald N. & Sandberg, Lars G., 1971. "From damnation to redemption: Judgments on the late victorian entrepreneur," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 89-108.
  8. Abay Mulatu & Nicholas Crafts, 2005. "Efficiency among private railway companies in a weakly regulated system: the case of Britain's railways in 1893-1912," Economic History Working Papers 22552, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
  9. Filippini, Massimo & Maggi, Rico, 1993. "Efficiency and Regulation in the Case of the Swiss Private Railways," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 5(2), pages 199-216, June.
  10. Foreman-Peck, James & Millward, Robert, 1994. "Public and Private Ownership of British Industry 1820-1990," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198203599, March.
  11. Dodgson J. S., 1993. "British Railway Cost Functions and Productivity Growth, 1900-1912," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 158-181, April.
  12. 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.
  13. Stephen Broadberry & Nicholas Crafts, 2003. "UK productivity performance from 1950 to 1979: a restatement of the Broadberry-Crafts view ," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 56(4), pages 718-735, November.
  14. David Parker, 2004. "The UK's Privatisation Experiment: The Passage of Time Permits a Sober Assessment," CESifo Working Paper Series 1126, CESifo Group Munich.
  15. Mitchell, B. R., 1964. "The Coming of the Railway and United Kingdom Economic Growth," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 24(03), pages 315-336, September.
  16. Pitt, Mark M. & Lee, Lung-Fei, 1981. "The measurement and sources of technical inefficiency in the Indonesian weaving industry," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 43-64, August.
  17. Greene, William, 2005. "Reconsidering heterogeneity in panel data estimators of the stochastic frontier model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 126(2), pages 269-303, June.
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