Electricity Diffusion and Trend Acceleration in Inter-War Manufacturing Productivity
U of Cambridge, Economics Working Paper No. 0202
27 Pages Posted: 18 Mar 2002
Date Written: February 2002
This paper evaluates the link between the diffusion of electricity and the increase in labour productivity growth in the manufacturing sector during the inter-war period. A comparative analysis of the USA, Britain, Germany, and Japan shows that the trend acceleration in labour productivity is common to all these countries except Germany and is correlated with electricity diffusion. Germany's labour productivity growth was nevertheless sustained in 1925 - 1938. The USA saw an earlier acceleration because the diffusion of electricity-based general-purpose technologies in production was much faster than in the other countries examined.
Keywords: Economic Growth, Economic History, Productivity, Long Swings
JEL Classification: N11, N12, N13, N14, N60, O40
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation