By Alexander J. Field Ph.D.
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Extra info for A Great Leap Forward: 1930s Depression and U.S. Economic Growth
S. Copyright Law and except by reviewers for the public press), without written permission from the publishers. Yale University Press books may be purchased in quantity for educational, business, or promotional use. S. K. office). Printed in the United States of America. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Field, Alexander J. S. economic growth / Alexander J. Field. p. cm. — (Yale series in economic and financial history) Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-0-300-15109-1 (hardcover : alk.
My friends at Stanford, including Ran Abramitzky, Paul David, Avner Greif, Petra Moser, Nate Rosenberg, and Gavin Wright, continue to provide a welcome sounding board for many of these ideas and are part of what makes the Bay Area and California such a great place to do economic history. Thanks also to colleagues at other universities who have been especially helpful over the years. These include Greg Clark, Stan Engerman, Naomi Lamoreaux, Deirdre McCloskey, Tim Leunig, Peter Lindert, Joel Mokyr, Leandro Prados, Richard Sutch, Peter Temin, and Joachim Voth.
The concluding chapter explores, looking particularly at railroads in the 1930s, whether depression can have a beneficial impact on long-run productivity growth. On balance, a boom/bust cycle is likely to impact long-run TFP growth negatively, but the dynamics engendered are mixed in their effects, and the answer to the question posed is nuanced: there can be positive influences. In particular, while much of the strong productivity performance of railroads during the Depression can be attributed to spillovers from street and highway construction, as described in chapters 1 and 2, some resulted directly from the sheer shock of adversity generated by the prolonged economic downturn.