Technological Leadership and Productivity Leadership in Manufacturing Since the Industrial Revolution: Implications for the Convergence Debate
The United States has been the labor productivity leader in manufacturing since the early nineteenth century despite changes in technological leadership from Britain to the United States and then to Germany and Japan. U.S. productivity leadership is based on the more widespread use of mass production rather than craft production methods, determined by resource and factor endowments and demand patterns. The two systems can coexist so long as the technologically lagging system imitates and adapts. Changes in the relative dynamism of the two systems explain changes in technological leadership but without necessarily leading to changes in productivity leadership. Copyright 1994 by Royal Economic Society.
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