A Vision of the Growth Process in a Technologically Progressive Economy: the United States, 1899-1941

Gerben Bakker, N.F.R. Crafts, P.J. Woltjer

Research output: Working paperAcademic

Abstract

We develop new aggregate and sectoral Total Factor Productivity (TFP) estimates for the United States between 1899 and 1941 through better coverage of sectors and better measured labor quality, and show TFP-growth was lower than previously thought, broadly based across sectors, strongly variant
intertemporally, and consistent with many diverse sources of innovation. We then test and reject three prominent claims. First, the 1930s did not have the highest TFP-growth of the twentieth century. Second, TFP-growth was not predominantly caused by four leading sectors. Third, TFP-growth was not caused by
a ‘yeast process’ originating in a dominant technology such as electricity.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherLondon School of Economics and Political Science
Number of pages73
Volume226
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Publication series

NameLSE Economic History Working Papers
PublisherLondon School of Economics and Political Science
No.226

Keywords

  • Harberger diagram; mushrooms; productivity growth; total factor productivity; yeast

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