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NBER Working Papers and Publications
|April 2011||Why was Rate and Direction So Important?|
with Scott Stern
in The Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity Revisited, Josh Lerner and Scott Stern, editors
|September 2001||A General Purpose Technology at Work: The Corliss Steam Engine in the late 19th Century US|
with Manuel Trajtenberg: w8485
The steam engine is widely regarded as the icon of the Industrial Revolution and a prime example of a 'General Purpose Technology,' and yet its contribution to growth is far from transparent. This paper examines the role that a particular innovative design in steam power, the Corliss engine, played in the intertwined processes of industrialization and urbanization that characterized the growth of the US economy in the late 19th century. Waterpower offered abundant and cheap energy, but restricted the location of manufacturing just to areas with propitious topography and climate. Steam engines offered the possibility of relaxing this severe constraint, allowing industry to locate where key considerations such as access to markets for inputs and outputs directed. The enhanced performance of ...
Published: Rosenberg, Nathan and Manuel Trajtenberg. "A General Purpose Technology at Work: The Corliss Steam Engine in the late 19th Century US." The Journal of Economic History 64, 1 (March 2004): 61-99.