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The Economic Characteristics of Railroads and the Problem of Economic Development

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 March 2011

Moses Abramovitz
Stanford University
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The problem proposed by the editor of the Quarterly to the members of this symposium is to consider the varying patterns of railway development in three Far Eastern countries. It is a particularly challenging problem because the influential role which railroads have played in Western economic growth leads one naturally to ask whether Western experience has been repeated in the East, and, if not, how the differences may be explained. This question does, indeed, seem to have been the central one raised by the three following articles.

Symposium—The Patterns of Railway Development
Copyright © The Association for Asian Studies, Inc. 1955

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1 Clark, John Maurice, “Common and Disparate Elements in National Growth and Decline,” Problems in the Study of Economic Growth, National Bureau of Economic Research, 07 1949, 30.Google Scholar

2 This section owes some debt to an excellent article by Jenks, Leland H., “Railroads as an Economic Force in American Development,” Journal of Economic History, 4 (1944), 120Google Scholar. (Reprinted in Lane, F. C. and Riesmersma, J. C., Editors, Enterprise and Secular Change, Homewood, Illinois, Richard D. Irwin, Inc., 1953, 161–80.)Google Scholar

3 See Ulmer, M. J., “Trends and Cycles in Capital Formation by United States Railroads, 1870–1950,”Google Scholar National Bureau of Economic Research, Occasional Paper 43 (1954), Table A-1, and Daniel Creamer, “Capital and Output Trends in Manufacturing Industries, 1880–1948,” National Bureau of Economic Research, Occasional Paper 41 (1954), Table 2.

4 For example, Clapham, J. H., An Economic History of Modern Britain, Vol. I and II.Google Scholar

5 See Schumpeter, J. A., Business Cycles, Vol. I.Google Scholar

6 Jenks, , op. cit., 3.Google Scholar

7 Levy, Marion J. Jr., Contrasting Factors in the Modernization of China and JapanGoogle Scholar. Mimeographed paper of the Conference on Economic Growth in Selected Countries, Princeton University, 1952.