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Winning the war, losing the peace?: a comparative study of labour productivity in British and West German manufacturing, 1936-1968

Bos, Nikita and Vonyó, Tamás (2013) Winning the war, losing the peace?: a comparative study of labour productivity in British and West German manufacturing, 1936-1968. In: Modern and comparative economic history seminar, 2013-02-14. (Submitted)

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Abstract

There has been disagreement on the popular notion of Britain’s relative economic decline vis-à-vis West Germany after 1950. While German scholars emphasised the role of the post-war output gap in German super-growth, the recent British literature crystallized around the manufacturing failure hypothesis of Broadberry and Crafts. This paper offers a comprehensive reassessment of the relative productivity performance of British and West German industry both before the outbreak of World War II and in the early post-war period. The war had an enormous impact on the Anglo-German productivity race. Relative to the UK, industrial value added per hour worked in West Germany had declined by a quarter between 1936 and 1951. In the 1950s, German super-growth can be explained entirely by this war-induced productivity gap. Britain’s relative decline in this period cannot be attributed to British manufacturing failure. If at any time during the post-war Golden Age, such failure can be observed in the 1960s.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Other)
Official URL: http://www2.lse.ac.uk/economicHistory/seminars/Mod...
Additional Information: © 2013 The Authors
Divisions: Economic History
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
JEL classification: N - Economic History > N3 - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Income, and Wealth > N34 - Economic History: Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Income and Wealth: Europe: 1913-
N - Economic History > N6 - Manufacturing and Construction > N64 - Europe: 1913-
Sets: Departments > Economic History
Collections > Economists Online
Date Deposited: 13 Feb 2013 09:27
Last Modified: 20 Feb 2019 00:41
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/48591

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