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Institutions and Long-Run Growth in the UK: the Role of Standards

  • Paul Temple

    (University of Surrey)

  • Robert Witt

    (University of Surrey)

  • Chris Spencer

    (University of Surrey)

In this paper we consider the relationship between the standards created by national standards bodies and long run economic growth, exploring the relationship in the context of the UK and the British Standards Institution (BSI). We suggest that standards provide a key enabling mechanism for the widespread diffusion of major technologies, while being generally supportive of incremental innovation and general technological understanding. In order to further understanding of this mechanism we measure the ‘output’ of the BSI by estimating the size of the BSI ‘catalogue’ available to the economy since its inception in 1901. The measure allows us to estimate an augmented production function for the UK economy over the period 1948-2002. Within a co-integrating framework, we find a statistically significant and unique co-integrating vector between labour productivity, the capital-labour ratio, exogenous technological progress and the BSI catalogue. The long-run elasticity of labour productivity with respect to the standards stock is estimated to be about 0.05, so that the rapid growth of the catalogue in the postwar period is associated with about 13% of the aggregate growth in labour productivity.

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File URL: http://www.fahs.surrey.ac.uk/economics/discussion_papers/2004/DP10-04.pdf
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Paper provided by School of Economics, University of Surrey in its series School of Economics Discussion Papers with number 1004.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:sur:surrec:1004
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Web page: http://www.surrey.ac.uk/economics/
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  1. Nicholas Crafts, 2003. "Steam as a general purpose technology: a growth accounting perspective," Economic History Working Papers 22354, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
  2. David, Paul A, 1985. "Clio and the Economics of QWERTY," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 332-37, May.
  3. Cohen, Wesley M & Levinthal, Daniel A, 1989. "Innovation and Learning: The Two Faces of R&D," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(397), pages 569-96, September.
  4. David, Paul A, 1990. "The Dynamo and the Computer: An Historical Perspective on the Modern Productivity Paradox," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 355-61, May.
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