Steam as a General Purpose Technology: A Growth Accounting Perspective

14 Pages Posted: 19 May 2004

See all articles by Nicholas Crafts

Nicholas Crafts

University of Warwick; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Abstract

The contribution of steam to British economic growth in the nineteenth century is estimated using growth accounting methods similar to those recently employed to examine the role of ICT. The results indicate that steam contributed little to growth before 1830 and had its peak impact about a hundred years after Watt's famous invention. Only with the advent of high-pressure steam after 1850 did the technology realise its potential. Compared with ICT, steam's impact on the annual rate of growth was modest. It is unlikely that these conclusions are vulnerable to quantification of hitherto unmeasured TFP spillovers.

Suggested Citation

Crafts, Nicholas, Steam as a General Purpose Technology: A Growth Accounting Perspective. Economic Journal, Vol. 114, No. 495, pp. 338-351, April 2004. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=526829

Nicholas Crafts (Contact Author)

University of Warwick ( email )

Gibbet Hill Rd.
Coventry, West Midlands CV4 8UW
United Kingdom

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

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