America's present economy, understood through its past. Rich in both quantitative techniques and economic theory, American Economic History demonstrates how an understanding of our past can illuminate economic issues that face society today and in the future. In simple, elegant language, this text walks readers through four centuries of political, social, and economic history, focusing on laws and institutions and emphasizing current economic topics. The eighth edition has been updated and revised, and includes expanded discussions on population, health, and labor; education; the automobile industry; income and taxes; social security; unemployment; regulation and the financial industry; and the history of economic recessions.
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The American economy has provided a level of well-being that has consistently ranked at or near the top of the international ladder. A key source of this success has been widespread participation in political and economic processes. In The Government and the American Economy, leading economic historians chronicle the significance of America’s open-access society and the roles played by government in its unrivaled success story. America’s democratic experiment, the authors show, allowed individuals and interest groups to shape the structure and policies of government, which, in turn, have fostered economic success and innovation by emphasizing private property rights, the rule of law, and protections of individual freedom. In response to new demands for infrastructure, America’s federal structure hastened development by promoting the primacy of states, cities, and national governments. More recently, the economic reach of American government expanded dramatically as the populace accepted stronger limits on its economic freedoms in exchange for the increased security provided by regulation, an expanded welfare state, and a stronger national defense.
This three volume work offers a comprehensive survey of the history of economic activity and economic change in the United States, and in those regions whose economies have at certain times been closely allied to that of the US.
"[An] ambitious economic history of the united States...rich with details." ?—David Leonhardt, New York Times Book Review How did a weak collection of former British colonies become an industrial, financial, and military colossus? From the eighteenth to the twenty-first centuries, the American economy has been transformed by wave after wave of emerging technology: the steam engine, electricity, the internal combustion engine, computer technology. Yet technology-driven change leads to growing misalignment between an innovative economy and anachronistic legal and political structures until the gap is closed by the modernization of America's institutions—often amid upheavals such as the Civil War and Reconstruction and the Great Depression and World War II. When the U.S. economy has flourished, government and business, labor and universities, have worked together in a never-ending project of economic nation building. As the United States struggles to emerge from the Great Recession, Michael Lind clearly demonstrates that Americans, since the earliest days of the republic, have reinvented the American economy - and have the power to do so again.
How America's high standard of living came to be and why future growth is under threat In the century after the Civil War, an economic revolution improved the American standard of living in ways previously unimaginable. Electric lighting, indoor plumbing, motor vehicles, air travel, and television transformed households and workplaces. But has that era of unprecedented growth come to an end? Weaving together a vivid narrative, historical anecdotes, and economic analysis, The Rise and Fall of American Growth challenges the view that economic growth will continue unabated, and demonstrates that the life-altering scale of innovations between 1870 and 1970 cannot be repeated. Robert Gordon contends that the nation's productivity growth will be further held back by the headwinds of rising inequality, stagnating education, an aging population, and the rising debt of college students and the federal government, and that we must find new solutions. A critical voice in the most pressing debates of our time, The Rise and Fall of American Growth is at once a tribute to a century of radical change and a harbinger of tougher times to come.
Offering new research on strategic factors in the development of the nineteenth century American economy—labor, capital, and political structure—the contributors to this volume employ a methodology innovated by Robert W. Fogel, one of the leading pioneers of the "new economic history." Fogel's work is distinguished by the application of economic theory and large-scale quantitative evidence to long-standing historical questions. These sixteen essays reveal, by example, the continuing vitality of Fogel's approach. The authors use an astonishing variety of data, including genealogies, the U.S. federal population census manuscripts, manumission and probate records, firm accounts, farmers' account books, and slave narratives, to address collectively market integration and its impact on the lives of Americans. The evolution of markets in agricultural and manufacturing labor is considered first; that concerning capital and credit follows. The demography of free and slave populations is the subject of the third section, and the final group of papers examines the extra-market institutions of governments and unions.
Despite recent corporate scandals, the United States is among the world’s least corrupt nations. But in the nineteenth century, the degree of fraud and corruption in America approached that of today’s most corrupt developing nations, as municipal governments and robber barons alike found new ways to steal from taxpayers and swindle investors. In Corruption and Reform, contributors explore this shadowy period of United States history in search of better methods to fight corruption worldwide today. Contributors to this volume address the measurement and consequences of fraud and corruption and the forces that ultimately led to their decline within the United States. They show that various approaches to reducing corruption have met with success, such as deregulation, particularly “free banking,” in the 1830s. In the 1930s, corruption was kept in check when new federal bureaucracies replaced local administrations in doling out relief. Another deterrent to corruption was the independent press, which kept a watchful eye over government and business. These and other facets of American history analyzed in this volume make it indispensable as background for anyone interested in corruption today.
Winner of the 1998 Paul A. Samuelson Award given by TIAA-CREF, The Evolution of Retirement is the first comprehensive economic history of retirement in America. With life expectancies steadily increasing, the retirement rate of men over age 64 has risen drastically. Dora L. Costa looks at factors underlying this increase and shows the dramatic implications of her findings for both the general public and the U.S. government. Using statistical, and demographic concepts, Costa sheds light on such important topics as rising incomes and retirement, work and disease, the job prospects of older workers, living arrangements of the elderly, the development of a retirement lifestyle, and pensions and politics. "[Costa's] major contribution is to show that, even without Social Security and Medicare, retirement would have expanded dramatically."—Robert J. Samuelson, New Republic "An important book on a topic which has become popular with historians and is of major significance to politicians and economists."—Margaret Walsh, Business History