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.

AUTHORS: Gerben Bakker, Nicholas Crafts and Pieter Woltjer

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Available at: Centre for Economic Policy Research
Journal: CEPR Discussion Papers, No. 10,995
DOI:
Get PDF: “A Vision of the Growth Process in a Technologically Progressive Economy”
Other versions:
  1. CAGE Working Paper 257
  2. GGDC Research Memorandum 156
  3. LSE Economic History Working Paper 226
  4. Warwick Economics Research Paper 1099.

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MLA Bakker, Gerben, Nicholas Crafts, and Pieter Woltjer. “A vision of the growth process in a technologically progressive economy: the United States, 1899-1941.” Centre for Economic Policy Research Discussion Paper 10995  (2015).
APA Bakker, G., Crafts, N., & Woltjer, P. (2015). A vision of the growth process in a technologically progressive economy: the United States, 1899-1941. Centre for Economic Policy Research Discussion Paper, 10995.
Chicago Bakker, Gerben, Nicholas Crafts, and Pieter Woltjer. “A vision of the growth process in a technologically progressive economy: the United States, 1899-1941.” Centre for Economic Policy Research Discussion Paper 10995  (2015).
Harvard Bakker, G., Crafts, N. and Woltjer, P., 2015. A vision of the growth process in a technologically progressive economy: the United States, 1899-1941. Centre for Economic Policy Research Discussion Paper, 10995.
Vancouver Bakker G, Crafts N, Woltjer P. A vision of the growth process in a technologically progressive economy: the United States, 1899-1941. Centre for Economic Policy Research Discussion Paper. 2015;10995.

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