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Two Centuries of Productivity Growth in Computing

  • William D. Nordhaus (a1)

Abstract

The present study analyzes computer performance over the last century and a half. Three results stand out. First, there has been a phenomenal increase in computer power over the twentieth century. Depending upon the standard used, computer performance has improved since manual computing by a factor between 1.7 trillion and 76 trillion. Second, there was a major break in the trend around World War II. Third, this study develops estimates of the growth in computer power relying on performance rather than components; the price declines using performance-based measures are markedly larger than those reported in the official statistics.

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References

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The Journal of Economic History
  • ISSN: 0022-0507
  • EISSN: 1471-6372
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-economic-history
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