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Standards, Learning and Growth in Britain 1901-2009


  • Cristopher Spencer

    (Loughborough University)

  • Paul Temple

    (University of Surrey)


This paper considers the model of voluntary, consensus based standardization as developed through the British Standards Institution (BSI) and its contribution to learning and productivity growth. It discusses the contribution of professional engineers to the model's introduction, its extension at home and imitation overseas, arguing that by 1931 the BSI catalogue of standards represented a considerable stock of codified knowledge whose growth reflected underlying aggregate technological advance. To validate this claim we incorporate a measure of the BSI catalogue of standards into an econometric model of productivity growth in Britain. However, caution is required in the interpretation of this finding.

Suggested Citation

  • Cristopher Spencer & Paul Temple, 2013. "Standards, Learning and Growth in Britain 1901-2009," School of Economics Discussion Papers 0613, School of Economics, University of Surrey.
  • Handle: RePEc:sur:surrec:0613

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    JEL classification:

    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence
    • L52 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Industrial Policy; Sectoral Planning Methods
    • C22 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes

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