John James

Dept. of Economics
University of Virginia
PO Box 400182
Charlottesville, VA 22904

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NBER Working Papers and Publications

March 1985Shifts in the Nineteenth-Century Phillips Curve Relationship
This paper examines shifts in the output effects of unanticipated inflation in the nineteenth-century United States by estimatinga Lucas-type aggregate supply function over the 1840-1900 period. It is shown that, in contrast to the twentieth-century experience in which there has been a pronounced movement toward greater cyclical price rigidity, the nineteenth-century output response to unanticipated price changes was roughly stable over the period. Such stability is also particularly interesting in view of the dramatic changes in communications and transportation technology, particularly the telegraph and the railroad, which greatly facilitated information flows and thereby should have forced the price-surprise coefficient downward. Other factors which may have offset the influence of thes...

Published: Published as "The Stability of the 19th Century Phillips Curve Relationship", EEH, Vol. 26, no. 2 (1989): 117-134.

November 1984The Resolution of the Labor Scarcity Paradox
with Jonathan S. Skinner: w1504
This paper reconciles the apparently contradictory evidence about American and British technology in the first half of the nineteenth century. Past studies have focused on the writings of a number of distinguished British engineers, who toured the United States during the 1850s and commented extensively on the highly mechanized state of the manufacturing sector. Other studies, however, have marshalled evidence that the interest rate was higher, and the aggregate manufacturing capital stock was lower, in the United States relative to Britain. We resolve this paradox by noting that British engineers were most impressed by only a few industries which relied on skilled workers. Using the 1849 Census of Manufactures, we estimate separate production functions for the skilled sector and for the r...

Published: James, John A. and Jonathan S. Skinner. "The Resolution of the Labor Scarcity Paradox," Journal of Economic History, Vol. 45, No. 3, (September 1985) pp. 513-540. citation courtesy of

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