Germany overtook Britain in comparative productivity levels for the whole economy primarily as a result of trends in services rather than trends in industry. Britain's productivity lead in services before World War II reflected external economies of scale in a highly urbanised economy with an international orientation. Low productivity in Germany reflected the underdevelopment of services in an economy that was slow to move out of agriculture. As German agricultural employment contracted sharply from the 1950s, catching-up occurred in services. This was aided by a sharp increase in human and physical capital accumulation, underpinned by the institutional framework of the postwar settlement
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