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Downtime in American Manufacturing Industry: 1870 and 1880

Author

Listed:
  • Jeremy Atack

    () (Vanderbilt University, NBER)

  • Fred Bateman

    (University of Georgia)

Abstract

Using unpublished manuscript census data for 1869/70 and 1879/80, we estimate that manufacturing establishments in the mid/late nineteenth century averaged about 10 months of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.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeremy Atack & Fred Bateman, 2000. "Downtime in American Manufacturing Industry: 1870 and 1880," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0048, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:van:wpaper:0048
    as

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    File URL: http://www.accessecon.com/pubs/VUECON/vu00-w48.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2000
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Robert A. Margo, 2000. "Wages and Labor Markets in the United States, 1820-1860," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number marg00-1.
    2. Albert Rees & Donald P. Jacobs, 1961. "Real Wages in Manufacturing, 1890-1914," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number rees61-1, January.
    3. Jacoby, Sanford M. & Sharma, Sunil, 1992. "Employment Duration and Industrial Labor Mobility in the United States, 1880–1980," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 52(01), pages 161-179, March.
    4. Atack, Jeremy & Bateman, Fred, 1992. "How Long Was the Workday in 1880?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 52(01), pages 129-160, March.
    5. Thomas Weiss, 1989. "Economic Growth Before 1860: Revised Conjectures," NBER Historical Working Papers 0007, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Primack, Martin L., 1962. "Land Clearing Under Nineteenth-Century Techniques: Some Preliminary Calculations," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 22(04), pages 484-497, December.
    7. 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.
    8. Robert A. Margo, 2000. "Introduction to "Wages and Labor Markets in the United States, 1820-1860"," NBER Chapters,in: Wages and Labor Markets in the United States, 1820-1860, pages 1-5 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Margo, Robert A., 1990. "The incidence and duration of unemployment : Some long-term comparisons," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 217-220, March.
    10. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • N61 - Economic History - - Manufacturing and Construction - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
    • N31 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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