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Believe it or not! The 1930s was a technologically progressive decade

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  • Michelle Alexopoulos

    (University of Toronto)

Abstract

We present new indicators of technological change for the period 1909-49 for the U.S. based on information contained in the Library of Congress’ catalogue. We use these indictors to estimate the connections between technological change and economic activity, and investigate the relationship between fluctuations in innovative activity and the Great Depression. We find: (1) statistically significant links between technological change, output and productivity, (2) the slowdown in technological progress in the early 1930s does not appear to have contributed significantly to the Great Depression, and (3) the remarkable acceleration in technical change after 1934 played a role in the recovery.

Suggested Citation

  • Michelle Alexopoulos, 2007. "Believe it or not! The 1930s was a technologically progressive decade," 2007 Meeting Papers 195, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed007:195
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    8. Evsey D. Domar, 1962. "On Total Productivity and All That," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 597-597.
    9. Alexander J. Field, 2003. "The Most Technologically Progressive Decade of the Century," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 1399-1413.
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    13. Martha L. Olney, 1999. "Avoiding Default: The Role of Credit in the Consumption Collapse of 1930," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 319-335.
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    15. Lee E. Ohanian, 2002. "Why did productivity fall so much during the Great Depression?," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lawrence J. Christiano & Cosmin Ilut & Roberto Motto & Massimo Rostagno, 2010. "Monetary policy and stock market booms," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 85-145.

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