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Engines of Growth: The Productivity Advance of Indian Railways, 1874–1912

Dan Bogart () and Latika Chaudhary

The Journal of Economic History, 2013, vol. 73, issue 2, 339-370

Abstract: Railways were integral to the development of the Indian economy before World War I. This article presents new estimates of total factor productivity (TFP) for railways from 1874 to 1912, which highlight the strong performance of this key industrial sector. Railway-industry TFP growth was substantial averaging 2.3 percent per year and generating a 2.7 percent social savings for the Indian economy. A combination of factors contributed to TFP growth including greater capacity utilization, technological change, and improvements in organization and governance. Railways had higher TFP growth than most sectors in India and compared favorably with TFP growth in other countries.

Date: 2013
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