From the counting house to the modern office: explaining Anglo-American productivity differences in services, 1870–1990

Broadberry, S. and Ghosal, S. (2002) From the counting house to the modern office: explaining Anglo-American productivity differences in services, 1870–1990. Journal of Economic History, 62(04), pp. 967-998. (doi:10.1017/S0022050702001614)

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Abstract

The United States overtook Britain in comparative aggregate productivity levels primarily as a result of trends in services rather than trends in industry. This occurred during the transition from customized, low-volume, high-margin business organized on the basis of networks to standardized, high-volume, low-margin business with hierarchical management from the 1870s. This transformation from the counting house to the modern office was dependent on technologies that improved communications and information processing. The technologies were slower to diffuse in Britain as a result of lower levels of education and stronger labor-force resistance to intensification.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Ghosal, Professor Sayantan
Authors: Broadberry, S., and Ghosal, S.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Economics
Journal Name:Journal of Economic History
ISSN:0022-0507
ISSN (Online):1471-6372
Published Online:23 January 2003

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