Now that services account for such a dominant part of economic activity, it has become apparent that achieving high levels of productivity in the economy requires high levels of productivity in services. This book, first published in 2006, offers a major reassessment of Britain's comparative productivity performance over the last 150 years. Whereas in the mid-nineteenth century Britain had higher productivity than the United States and Germany, by 1990 both countries had overtaken Britain. The key to achieving high productivity was the 'industrialisation' of market services, which involved both the serving of business and the provision of mass-market consumer services in a more business like fashion. Comparative productivity varied with the uneven spread of industrialised service sector provision across sectors. Stephen Broadberry provides a quantitative overview of these trends, together with a qualitative account of developments within individual sectors, including shipping, railways, road and air transport, telecommunications, wholesale and retail distribution, banking, and finance.

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