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The US-UK productivity gap in the twentieth century: a race between technology and population

Banerjee, Rajabrata (2011): The US-UK productivity gap in the twentieth century: a race between technology and population.

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Abstract

Recent developments in endogenous growth models have enabled researchers to reconsider some key events such as the take-off of the United States in the twentieth century. This paper investigates the roles played by innovative activity and population growth on comparative total factor productivity (TFP) growth between the US and the UK in the period 1870–2009. The study finds that the comparative lead in the US TFP was a race between innovative activity on the one hand and population growth on the other. While the first factor influenced TFP growth positively, the latter created a growth drag. Moreover, the findings strongly support the Schumpeterian hypothesis, where innovative activity has permanent growth effects in the long run.

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