A New Estimate of the Anglo-American Manufacturing Productivity Gap in the Interwar Period

ABSTRACT: During the interwar period the manufacturing productivity gap between the US and the UK became much larger than existing estimates suggest. In this article a new comparison of US/UK productivity levels for 1935 is presented, utilizing a more rigorous methodology to revise the widely used, but methodologically outdated, benchmark comparison by Rostas that was published in 1948. Secondly, the comparison is extended to take account of variations in input prices, and it is shown that double deflation has a substantial effect on the new benchmark, particularly at the industry level. Thirdly, labour input is adjusted for actual hours worked. US manufacturing displayed a much higher level of comparative productivity for the key industries of the second industrial revolution, such as chemicals and engineering. These results support revisionist accounts of the depression’s strengthening of US productivity leadership.

AUTHORS: Herman de Jong and Pieter Woltjer

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Available at: Wiley Online Library
Journal: The Economic History Review, Volume 64, Issue 2, 2011
DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0289.2010.00546.x
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MLA De Jong, Herman, and Pieter Woltjer. “Depression dynamics: a new estimate of the Anglo‐American manufacturing productivity gap in the interwar period.” The Economic History Review 64.2 (2011): 472-492.
APA De Jong, H., & Woltjer, P. (2011). Depression dynamics: a new estimate of the Anglo‐American manufacturing productivity gap in the interwar period. The Economic History Review, 64(2), 472-492.
Chicago De Jong, Herman, and Pieter Woltjer. “Depression dynamics: a new estimate of the Anglo‐American manufacturing productivity gap in the interwar period.” The Economic History Review 64, no. 2 (2011): 472-492.
Harvard De Jong, H. and Woltjer, P., 2011. Depression dynamics: a new estimate of the Anglo‐American manufacturing productivity gap in the interwar period.The Economic History Review, 64(2), pp.472-492.
Vancouver De Jong H, Woltjer P. Depression dynamics: a new estimate of the Anglo‐American manufacturing productivity gap in the interwar period. The Economic History Review. 2011 May 1;64(2):472-92.

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