Total factor productivity growth on Britain's railways, 1852-1912: A reappraisal of the evidence

Nicholas Crafts, Terence C. Mills, Abay Mulatu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)608-634
Number of pages27
JournalExplorations in Economic History
Volume44
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2007

Fingerprint

Railway
Productivity
TFP growth
Total factor productivity growth
Total Factor Productivity
Discrepancy
Cost inefficiency
Agency problems
Collusion
Cliometrics
Entry barriers
Service sector
Manufacturing
Late-Victorian
Costs

Keywords

  • Railways
  • Total factor productivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Economics and Econometrics

Cite this

Total factor productivity growth on Britain's railways, 1852-1912 : A reappraisal of the evidence. / Crafts, Nicholas; Mills, Terence C.; Mulatu, Abay.

In: Explorations in Economic History, Vol. 44, No. 4, 01.10.2007, p. 608-634.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{f4bdf9fbbe504da79a4f097913b60a02,
title = "Total factor productivity growth on Britain's railways, 1852-1912: A reappraisal of the evidence",
abstract = "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.",
keywords = "Railways, Total factor productivity",
author = "Nicholas Crafts and Mills, {Terence C.} and Abay Mulatu",
year = "2007",
month = "10",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1016/j.eeh.2007.01.002",
language = "English",
volume = "44",
pages = "608--634",
journal = "Explorations in Economic History",
issn = "0014-4983",
publisher = "Elsevier",
number = "4",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Total factor productivity growth on Britain's railways, 1852-1912

T2 - A reappraisal of the evidence

AU - Crafts, Nicholas

AU - Mills, Terence C.

AU - Mulatu, Abay

PY - 2007/10/1

Y1 - 2007/10/1

N2 - 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.

AB - 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.

KW - Railways

KW - Total factor productivity

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=34548205880&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.eeh.2007.01.002

DO - 10.1016/j.eeh.2007.01.002

M3 - Article

VL - 44

SP - 608

EP - 634

JO - Explorations in Economic History

JF - Explorations in Economic History

SN - 0014-4983

IS - 4

ER -