Resolving the Anglo-German Industrial Productivity Puzzle, 1895-1935 : A Response to Professor Ritschl
This paper offers a critical appraisal of the claim of Ritschl (2008) to have found a “possible resolution” to what he calls the “Anglo-German industrial productivity puzzle”. To understand the origins of this term, it is necessary to describe some recent developments in comparisons of industrial labour productivity between Britain and Germany. The Anglo-German industrial productivity puzzle really arose as the result of a new industrial production index produced by Ritschl (2004), which differed very substantially from the widely used index of Hoffmann (1965). Broadberry and Burhop (2007) pointed out that if the Ritschl (2004) index is combined with an index of German employment from Hoffmann (1965) and time series of UK output and employment from Feinstein (1972), it implies an implausibly high German labour productivity lead over Britain in 1907, when projected back from a widely accepted Germany/UK labour productivity benchmark for 1935/36.
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