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Downtime in American Manufacturing Industry: 1870 and 1880

  • Jeremy Atack

    ()

    (Vanderbilt University, NBER)

  • Fred Bateman

    (University of Georgia)

Using unpublished manuscript census data for 1869/70 and 1879/80, we estimate that manufacturing establishments in the mid/late nineteenth century averaged about 10 months of fulltime operation per year; somewhat longer in 1880 fractionally less in 1870. Months of operation, however, varied greatly by industry and systematically by region and size of establishment, with establishments in the South working fewer months and larger establishments working more months. This evidence in turn has broad implications for efforts to measure productivity and for our interpretation of levels and trends in manufacturing profitability.

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File URL: http://www.accessecon.com/pubs/VUECON/vu00-w48.pdf
File Function: First version, 2000
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Paper provided by Vanderbilt University Department of Economics in its series Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers with number 0048.

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Date of creation: Nov 2000
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Handle: RePEc:van:wpaper:0048
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.vanderbilt.edu/econ/wparchive/index.html

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  1. Meyer, David R., 1989. "Midwestern Industrialization and the American Manufacturing Belt in the Nineteenth Century," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(04), pages 921-937, December.
  2. Sokoloff, Kenneth L., 1984. "Investment in Fixed and Working Capital During Early Industrialization: Evidence from U. S. Manufacturing Firms," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 44(02), pages 545-556, June.
  3. Jeremy Atack & Fred Bateman, 1990. "How Long Was the Workday in 1880?," NBER Historical Working Papers 0015, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Margo, Robert A., 1990. "The incidence and duration of unemployment : Some long-term comparisons," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 217-220, March.
  5. Carter, Susan B. & Savoca, Elizabeth, 1990. "Labor Mobility and Lengthy Jobs in Nineteenth-Century America," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 50(01), pages 1-16, March.
  6. Weiss, Thomas, 1967. "The Service Sector in the United States, 1839 to 1899," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 27(04), pages 625-628, December.
  7. Bateman, Fred & Foust, James & Weiss, Thomas, 1975. "Profitability in southern manufacturing: Estimates for 1860," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 211-231, July.
  8. Jeremy Atack & Fred Bateman, 1991. "Whom Did Protective Legislation Protect? Evidence From 1880," NBER Historical Working Papers 0033, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Thomas Weiss, 1989. "Economic Growth Before 1860: Revised Conjectures," NBER Historical Working Papers 0007, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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