The Institute Blog

Alexander Field: A Great Leap Forward - Productivity Growth During the Great Depression

Alexander Field offers a new take on postwar prosperity in the United States. While public spending during the Second World War is often credited with laying the foundation for postwar growth, Field suggests this foundation had long been laid. In this INET interview with Rob Johnson he says productive capacity increased tremendously in the years preceding the war, and that fact – not the war spending – provided the basis for prosperity and productivity improvements in the 1950s and 1960s.

Alexander J. Field is Professor of Economics at Santa Clara University and Executive Director of the Economic History Association. He is author of the book A Great Leap Forward: 1930s Depression and U.S. Economic Growth.

Part 1: A Great Leap Forward: Productivity Growth During the Great Depression

Part 2: Crowding Out? - The Role of Public Investment During a Depression

Part 3: The Depression Era R&D Explosion

Part 4: Mixed Lessons From the Great Depression - the Benefits of Public Spending and Private Growth