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Changes in Productivity and Wage Growth in Late Nineteenth Century Britain and the United States: A Bayesian Model for Change

Changes in Productivity and Wage Growth in Late Nineteenth Century Britain and the United States: A Bayesian Model for Change (Hardback)

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Synopsis

This work searches for the existence and timing of turning points in real wage and productivity growth in Britain and the United States during the late 19th-century, a time of technological advancement and stagnant real wage growth. A Bayesian econometric model identifies shifts in the economic conditions of both countries that contributed to the growth of organized labour and widespread labour unrest. This model directly estimates a break's location and significance-a far more rigorous approach than is usually taken, and one which eliminates the subjective visual identification of the break. There is a long-running debate over the existence of a downturn in British economic performance, and recent research focuses on the relationship between real wages and productivity. This study locates a decline in British real wage growth in the early 1890s, originating with a concurrent cost of living increase. The location of Britain's productivity decline coincides with that of the U.S. Yet American real wages stagnated a decade earlier than did British, due to the U.S. immigration wave of the 1880s.

A combination of higher prices (experienced by both countries in the early 1890s), and the immigration surge after 1900, further suppressed U.S. real wage growth.

More books by M.Lynette Spencer Smyth

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