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Market Services and the Productivity Race, 1850–2000
British Performance in International Perspective


Part of Cambridge Studies in Economic History - Second Series

  • Date Published: November 2009
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521123143

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About the Authors
  • Now that services account for such a dominant part of economic activity, it has become apparent that achieving high levels of productivity in the economy requires high levels of productivity in services. This book offers a major reassessment of Britain's comparative productivity performance over the last 150 years. Whereas in the mid-nineteenth century Britain had higher productivity than the United States and Germany, by 1990 both countries had overtaken Britain. The key to achieving high productivity was the 'industrialisation' of market services, which involved both the serving of business and the provision of mass-market consumer services in a more business like fashion. Comparative productivity varied with the uneven spread of industrialised service sector provision across sectors. Stephen Broadberry provides a quantitative overview of these trends, together with a qualitative account of developments within individual sectors, including shipping, railways, road and air transport, telecommunications, wholesale and retail distribution, banking, and finance.

    • A major reassessment of Britain's comparative productivity performance over the last 150 years
    • Includes a complete sectoral database of comparative productivity performance in the UK, USA and Germany
    • Includes detailed studies of most of the major market service sectors
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'The book's great achievement is to force us to refocus our thinking.' Contemporary European History

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2009
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521123143
    • length: 432 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 24 mm
    • weight: 0.63kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Preface and acknowledgements
    1. Introduction and overview
    Part I. Measuring Comparative Productivity Performance:
    2. The contribution of services to the productivity performance of the whole economy
    3. Comparative productivity performance in market services
    4. A sectoral data base: Britain, the United States and Germany, 1870–1990
    Part II. Explaining Comparative Productivity Performance:
    5. Technology, organisational change and the industrialisation of services
    6. Investment in physical and human capital
    7. Competition and the institutional framework
    Part III. Reassessing the Performance of British Market Services:
    8. The 'golden age' of British commerce, 1850–1914
    9. The collapse of the liberal world economic order, 1914–50
    10. Completing the industrialisation of services, 1950–90
    11. British services in the 1990s: a preliminary assessment
    12. Summary and conclusions

  • Author

    Stephen Broadberry, University of Warwick

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