Labour productivity in the US and the UK during the 19th century
Broadberry, Stephen and Irwin, Douglas A. (2004) Labour productivity in the US and the UK during the 19th century. Discussion Paper. Centre for Economic Policy Research (Great Britain), London.
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A number of writers have recently questioned whether labour productivity or per capita incomes were ever higher in the United Kingdom than in the United States. We show that although the United States already had a substantial labour productivity lead in industry as early as 1840, especially in manufacturing, labour productivity was broadly equal in the two countries in agriculture, while the United Kingdom was ahead in services. Hence aggregate labour productivity was higher in the United Kingdom, particularly since the United States had a larger share of the labour force in low value-added agriculture. US overtaking occurred decisively only during the 1890s, as labour productivity pulled ahead in services and the share of agricultural employment declined substantially. The share of the population in the labour force was lower in the United States, so that the United Kingdom’s labour productivity advantage in the mid-nineteenth century translated into a larger per capita income lead.
|Item Type:||Working or Discussion Paper (Discussion Paper)|
|Alternative Title:||Labour productivity in the United States and the United Kingdom during the nineteenth century|
|Subjects:||H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor|
|Divisions:||Faculty of Social Sciences > Economics|
|Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH):||Labor productivity -- Great Britain -- History, Labor productivity -- United States -- History, Great Britain -- Economic conditions -- 19th century, United States -- Economic conditions -- 19th century|
|Series Name:||Discussion paper (Centre for Economic Policy Research (Great Britain))|
|Publisher:||Centre for Economic Policy Research (Great Britain)|
|Place of Publication:||London|
|Number of Pages:||39|
|Status:||Not Peer Reviewed|
|Access rights to Published version:||Open Access|
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