The Origins of U.S. Total Factor Productivity Growth in the Golden Age

Cliometrica, No. 1, pp. 63-90, April 2007

48 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2008

See all articles by Alexander J. Field

Alexander J. Field

Santa Clara University - Leavey School of Business - Economics Department

Abstract

A consideration of TFP growth in the United States during the golden age (1948-73) raises two related questions: on the one hand why was it so strong and on the other hand, why were TFP growth rates lower than they were during the Depression years (1929-41)? A continuing downward trend in TFP growth within manufacturing, and its declining share after World War II, help provide answers to the latter question. A persisting productivity windfall associated with the build out of the surface road infrastructure helps answer the former question. By adopting a longer historical perspective, we can move beyond understanding the golden age sui generis, and begin to see it instead as a period reflecting the persistence of trends and developments whose origins are to be found prior to the Second World War.

Keywords: Productivity, TFP, U.S. Macroeconomic History, Manufacturing, Transportation

JEL Classification: D24, N12, N71, O11, O47

Suggested Citation

Field, Alexander J., The Origins of U.S. Total Factor Productivity Growth in the Golden Age. Cliometrica, No. 1, pp. 63-90, April 2007, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1095949

Alexander J. Field (Contact Author)

Santa Clara University - Leavey School of Business - Economics Department ( email )

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