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The Pre-1914 UK Productivity Slowdown: A Reappraisal

Nicholas Crafts and Terence C. Mills
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Terence C. Mills: Loughborough University

CAGE Online Working Paper Series from Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE)

Abstract: This paper re-examines UK productivity growth in the decades before World War I using a new dataset compiled by Thomas and Dimsdale (2017). We find that the productivity slowdown of the early 20th century was quite modest and does not deserve to be called a climacteric. A more serious slowdown in labour productivity growth occurred in the 1870s. Neither of these episodes should be regarded as a precedent for the current severe deterioration in UK productivity performance. Nor should a late-Victorian productivity slowdown be attributed to the end of the steam age despite the popularity of this belief.

Keywords: climacteric; growth accounting; Hodrick-Prescott filter; productivity slowdown JEL Classification: N13; O47 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-eff and nep-his
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https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/research/c ... /437-2019_crafts.pdf

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