By Alexander J. Field Ph.D.
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Extra resources for A Great Leap Forward: 1930s Depression and U.S. Economic Growth
Portions of this work are based on material appearing in previously published articles. I thank various publishers for permission to build on that work. Relevant book chapters are indicated at the end of each acknowledgement. Field, Alexander J. 1992. ” Journal of Economic History 52 (December): 785–805 (chapter 11). Field, Alexander J. 2003. ” American Economic Review 93 (September): 1399–1413 (chapter 1). Field, Alexander J. 2006. S. ” Journal of Economic History 66 (March): 203–236 (chapter 2).
S. economic growth—and cycles—has, between 2007 and 2010, become even more apparent. 9 Part One A NEW GROWTH NARRATIVE 1 THE MOST TECHNOLOGICALLY PROGRESSIVE DECADE OF THE CENTURY It was not principally the Second World War that laid the foundation for postwar prosperity. It was technological progress across a broad frontier of the American economy during the 1930s. S. 1 The hypothesis entails two primary claims: first, during this period businesses and government contractors implemented or adopted on a more widespread basis a wide range of new technologies and practices, resulting in the highest rate of peacetime peak-to-peak TFP growth in the century, and second, the Depression years produced advances that replenished and expanded the stock of unexploited or only partially exploited techniques, thus providing the basis for much of the labor and total factor productivity improvement in the 1950s and 1960s.
This effect, however, could not persist: it had to reverse itself with demobilization and the return to a less goods-intensive more consumer-oriented production set. For all of these reasons there are grounds for doubting that the production experience of the Second World War was principally responsible for achieved productivity levels in 1948. WHY 1941? WHY 1948?