*The Way it Worked*

The author is Gordon C. Bjork and the subtitle is Structural Change and the Slowdown of U.S. Economic Growth.  I recommend this not-so-well known book, first published in 1999, very highly.  Among its other merits, it traces how much of the productivity slowdown results from the switch of the U.S. economy into lower-growing sectors.  Excerpt:

Thus, if the 1950s structure of relative output levels and employment were combined with the intra-sector growth rates of the decade ending in 1990, the aggregate intra-sector growth rate would have been 19 percent as opposed to the 13.2 percent it actually was in the decade ending 1990.  If the slow-growth decade of the 1980s had had the same output structure as the high-growth 1950s, it would have had higher growth rates than the high-growth 1950s.  Conversely, if the 1990 structure had been in effect in the 1950s, the intra-sectoral growth rate for the decade would have been only 11 percent, rather than its actual 17 percent.  These two examples of the effect of output structure on average growth rates illustrate the importance of structural change in determining aggregate rates of growth in per worker output by changing the relative size of sectors.


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