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Downtime in American Manufacturing Industry: 1870 and 1880

Jeremy Atack and Fred Bateman
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Fred Bateman: University of Georgia

No 48, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers from Vanderbilt University Department of Economics

Abstract: Using unpublished manuscript census data for 1869/70 and 1879/80, we estimate that manufacturing establishments in the mid/late nineteenth century averaged about 10 months of fulltime operation per year; somewhat longer in 1880 fractionally less in 1870. Months of operation, however, varied greatly by industry and systematically by region and size of establishment, with establishments in the South working fewer months and larger establishments working more months. This evidence in turn has broad implications for efforts to measure productivity and for our interpretation of levels and trends in manufacturing profitability.

JEL-codes: N61 N31 J23 J22 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2000-11
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