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Investment in Fixed and Working Capital During Early Industrialization: Evidence From U.S. Manufacturing Firms

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  • Kenneth L. Sokoloff

Abstract

This paper utilizes a survey of the US manufacturing firms from 1832 to investigate the structure of manufacturing investment during early industrialization. Although several manufacturing industries, such as cotton textiles, depart from the pattern, most appear to have devoted the hulk of their investments to working capitaL This variation across industries in the composition of capital investmentsis indicative of a more general variation in factor intensities, and bears on the issues of why industries became concentrated in the regions they did, and the degrees to which they were adversely affected by the limited availability of long-term loans. Evidence that most manufacturing industries had quite modest investments in machinery and tools per unit of labor is also presented, serving to undercut the notion that the early period of industrialization was based on a proliferation of new, machinery-intensive technologies

Suggested Citation

  • Kenneth L. Sokoloff, 1984. "Investment in Fixed and Working Capital During Early Industrialization: Evidence From U.S. Manufacturing Firms," NBER Working Papers 1385, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1385 Note: DAE
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Campbell, Tim S & Dietrich, J Kimball, 1983. " The Determinants of Default on Insured Conventional Residential Mortgage Loans," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 38(5), pages 1569-1581, December.
    2. Brennan, Michael J & Schwartz, Eduardo S, 1977. "The Valuation of American Put Options," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 32(2), pages 449-462, May.
    3. Parks, Richard W, 1978. "Inflation and Relative Price Variability," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(1), pages 79-95, February.
    4. Craig Swan, 1982. "Pricing Private Mortgage Insurance," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 10(3), pages 276-296.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ahmed, Habib, 1998. "Responses in output to monetary shocks and the interest rate: a rational expectations model with working capital," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 351-358, December.
    2. Sukkoo Kim, 2001. "Markets and Multiunit Firms from an American Historical Perspective," NBER Working Papers 8232, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Matthew Jaremski & Peter L. Rousseau, 2013. "Banks, Free Banks, And U.S. Economic Growth," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(2), pages 1603-1621, April.
    4. Kim, Sukkoo, 1999. "The Rise of Multiunit Firms in U.S. Manufacturing," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 360-386, October.
    5. Howard Bodenhorn, 2016. "Two Centuries of Finance and Growth in the United States, 1790-1980," Working Papers id:11352, eSocialSciences.
    6. Jeremy Atack & Fred Bateman & Robert A. Margo, 2003. "Capital Deepening in American Manufacturing, 1850-1880," NBER Working Papers 9923, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. James, John A. & Skinner, Jonathan S., 1985. "The Resolution of the Labor-Scarcity Paradox," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 45(03), pages 513-540, September.
    8. Sukkoo Kim, 1998. "The Rise of Multiunit Firms in U.S. Manufacturing," NBER Working Papers 6425, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Bodenhorn, Howard, 1999. "An Engine of Growth: Real Bills and Schumpeterian Banking in Antebellum New York," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 278-302, July.

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