This paper revisits the issue of the productivity performance of Britain's railways with an improved dataset and modern cliometrics. We find a slowdown in TFP growth between 1850 and 1870, after which it stabilized at about 1.1%. An analysis of company-level productivity performance reveals large discrepancies in TFP growth and substantial cost inefficiency. The evidence suggests that there was managerial failure in companies with agency problems in a context of collusion and high entry barriers. A wider implication is that the neoclassical exoneration of late-Victorian British management may be less convincing for the services sector than for manufacturing.
|Number of pages||27|
|Journal||Explorations in Economic History|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Oct 2007|
- Total factor productivity
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Economics and Econometrics