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Steam power, establishment size, and labor productivity growth in nineteenth century American manufacturing

Author: Jeremy Atack; Fred Bateman; Robert A Margo; National Bureau of Economic Research.
Publisher: Cambridge, Mass. : National Bureau of Economic Research.
Series: Working paper series (National Bureau of Economic Research), no. 11931.
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
Abstract: We use establishment level data from the 1850-80 censuses of manufacturing to study the correlates of the use of steam power and the impact of steam power on labor productivity growth in nineteenth century American manufacturing. A key result is that establishment size mattered: large establishments, as measured by employment, were much more likely to use steam power than smaller establishments.  Read more...
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Genre/Form: History
Material Type: Document, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Jeremy Atack; Fred Bateman; Robert A Margo; National Bureau of Economic Research.
OCLC Number: 62944039
Notes: January 2006.
Cover title.
Description: 1 online resource (1 volume).
Series Title: Working paper series (National Bureau of Economic Research), no. 11931.
Responsibility: Jeremy Atack, Fred Bateman, Robert Margo.

Abstract:

Abstract: We use establishment level data from the 1850-80 censuses of manufacturing to study the correlates of the use of steam power and the impact of steam power on labor productivity growth in nineteenth century American manufacturing. A key result is that establishment size mattered: large establishments, as measured by employment, were much more likely to use steam power than smaller establishments. Controlling for firm size, location, industry, and other establishment characteristics, steam powered establishments had higher labor productivity than establishments using hand or animal power, or water power. We also find that the impact of steam on labor productivity was increasing in establishment size. The diffusion of steam power was an important factor behind the growth of labor productivity, accounting for 22 to 41 percent of that growth between 1850 and 1880, depending on establishment size.

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