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Measuring productivity increase by long-run prices: The early analyses of G.R. Porter and R. Giffen

  • Opocher, Arrigo

The 19th century economic commentators did not possess a formal measure of the rate at which productivity was increasing during the industrial take-off. Yet they did develop an intuitive method based on the comparative change in prices and wages. This paper reviews the contributions of G.R. Porter and R. Giffen and, in the light of some modern contributions, presents an assessment of their rationality and improvability under current standards. It is argued, in particular, that a proper measure of industrial productivity increase based on the change in real earnings rates is the mathematical dual of a Solovian measure of the industrial Total Factor Productivity growth.

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File URL: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/18272/1/MPRA_paper_18272.pdf
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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 18272.

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Date of creation: 31 Aug 2009
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:18272
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  1. Heinz Kurz, 2010. "Technical progress, capital accumulation and income distribution in Classical economics: Adam Smith, David Ricardo and Karl Marx," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(5), pages 1183-1222.
  2. Arrigo Opocher, 2010. "The future of the working classes: a comparison between J.S. Mill and A. Marshall," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(2), pages 229-253.
  3. Dale W. Jorgenson, 1991. "Productivity and Economic Growth," NBER Chapters, in: Fifty Years of Economic Measurement: The Jubilee of the Conference on Research in Income and Wealth, pages 19-118 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Opocher, Arrigo, 2009. "A Dual-Solovian Measure of Productivity Increase and its Early Antecedents," MPRA Paper 15541, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Lydall, Harold, 1969. "On Measuring Technical Progress," Australian Economic Papers, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 8(12), pages 1-12, June.
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