Economics Seminar: Ethan G. Lewis, Dartmouth College, Hanover, USA

Title: Electrifying? Measuring the Impact of the Arrival of Electricity on Productivity in US Manufacturing, 1900-1940 (by Martin Fiszbein, Jeanne Lafortune, Ethan Lewis and Jose Tessada)

2019.02.25 | Charlotte Sparrevohn

Date Thu 13 Jun
Time 14:15 15:30
Location Fuglesangs Allé 4, 8210 Aarhus V, building 2632(L), room 242

Presenter: Ethan G. Lewis, Dartmouth College

Title: Electrifying? Measuring the Impact of the Arrival of Electricity on Productivity in US Manufacturing, 1900-1940

(by Martin Fiszbein, Jeanne Lafortune, Ethan Lewis and Jose Tessada)

Abstract:

We use a rich data set at the level of city-industry from 1890 to 1940 to identify the impact of the arrival of electricity on manufacturing industries.  We exploit energy intensity before the arrival of electricity interacted with proximity to early hydroelectric power plants as a source of variation.  Using this approach, we find that the productivity gains from the arrival of electricity were quite rapid and long-lasting.  Our results differ from previous literature only because of our approach: we replicate the literature's prior finding that productivity gains significantly lagged the spread of electricity when using cross-industry variation alone.  We also find electricity increased total output growth in the long-term, but not short-term.   Finally, we find that electricity was complementary with capital and increased energy use.

Host: Helena Skyt Nielsen

Organizer: Jonas Maibom

Seminars