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- What if railroads didn't change the world?.
Creator Fogel, Robert William. Language eng. Publication Baltimore, Johns Hopkins Press, , c Extent xv, p.
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Note Includes index. Isbn Isbn Other physical details ill.
Robert W. Fogel - Econlib
Library Locations Map Details. Thefirstclaim isbased primarily upon reports of the U.
ArmyEngineers astonavigability ofrivers andstreams proposed forimprovementandastoavailable water supplies. Suffice it tosaythattheEngineers have beennotoriously optimistic in theirestimates; andthatevensome of the canals actually built andincorporated in Fogel's hypothetical system of were deficient inwaterandoften unnavigable. Thesecond claim isbased upon another scholar's regression computation ofaverage costs on44 canals builtin theUnited States before Evenassuming thatthedataholdup in myview,a large assumption , theytakeno account of the qualityof the canals in the sample, formanyactually weregerry-built andcould hardlybe expected to havelasted until Indeed,manyof themrequired nearlycomplete reconstruction as earlyas fifteenyearsaftertheywerebuilt;others proveddeficient in water supply or basic design; andstillothers werenotstrong enough to carrysteampowered vessels.
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- Railroads and American economic growth : essays in econometric history.
At theveryleast, thecost ofFogel's feasible alternative requires careful reconsideration. At another level,onemustasksome hardquestions abouta stillmorebasic assumption: is it validto compute social savings fromthe actual or eventhe estimated economic data of the American economy in Would indeed everyacreof landin farms excluding the smallpercentage outside the system hypothecated by Fogel beenutilizedhadtherebeennorailroads?
Wouldevery farmhaveproduced exactly whatit had,andshipped itsproducts to thedestinationsof actualshipments in Wouldthe population of American citiesor their demand for foodstuffs been the same without railroads?
Mixing history of economic thought with cliometrics: room for debates on economic growth
And so on. In short,Fogelhasassumed that the path of development wouldhavebeenthe same without railroads. To impose anhypothetical alternative system oftransport on the economy, neglecting the probable or feasible or evenpossible patternof economic change in the preceding half century, withoutrailways, isceteris paribus withavengeance. Asidefromproviding uswith details of a thesis alreadymuchdebated,it contains a tellingcritique reminiscent of Kuznets' earlierwork of the Rostow "take-off" theoryappliedto the UnitedStates, and it provides a usefulestimate of demand structure in the ironandsteelindustry.
It isintriguing for itsmathematics including computations beyond thecomprehensionof this reviewer,to his discredit Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide. Forged from a partnership between a university press and a library, Project MUSE is a trusted part of the academic and scholarly community it serves.
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