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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/19155

Title: Standards, learning and growth in Britain, 1901‐2009
Authors: Spencer, Christopher
Temple, Paul
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Wiley / © Economic History Society
Citation: SPENCER, C. and TEMPLE, P., 2015. Standards, learning and growth in Britain, 1901‐2009. Economic History Review, 69 (2), pp. 627-652.
Abstract: This article considers the model of voluntary, consensus based standardization as developed through the British Standards Institution (BSI) and its contribution to learning and productivity growth. It discusses the significant role played by professional engineers in the model's introduction, its extension at home, and its imitation overseas. It is argued that by 1931 the BSI catalogue of standards represented a considerable stock of codified knowledge whose growth reflected underlying aggregate technological opportunities, assisting in their transformation into technological advance. To help validate this claim, a measure of the size of the BSI catalogue of standards is incorporated into an econometric model of aggregate productivity growth in Britain. Findings show that the growth of the standards catalogue is associated with a substantial proportion of labour productivity growth over the period 1931–2009. Estimates relating to the short-run dynamics involved are consistent with the idea that there are causal linkages running from standards to growth. When interpreting these findings, it is argued that the overall weight of historical evidence points to standardization—coordinated through the BSI—as providing an important path of learning for the British economy over the period considered.
Description: This paper is embargoed until October 2017.
Sponsor: Financial support from the UK Department of Trade and Industry is acknowledged
Version: Accepted for publication
DOI: 10.1111/ehr.12129
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/19155
Publisher Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ehr.12129
ISSN: 1468-0289
Appears in Collections:Closed Access (Economics)

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