Steven Horwitz, a professor at St. Lawrence University and Michael McPhillips take review the American economy during World War II to determine if the economy had recovered from the depression. They base their work on Robert Higgs, an economic historian, and his belief that the American economic recovery from the Great Depression was a post-WWII initiation. Furthermore, Higgs believed that the “traditional macroeconomic measures of economic performance are inappropriate for wartime and that they overstate people’s real economic well-being during the war.” Their article was written as a complement to Higg’s as they examined archival sources through the use of newspapers, diaries as well as primary sources. They hold the belief that the war did not solve the depression as evidenced by the GNP drop.
Santa Clara University professor Alexander Field approaches the American economic situation through idea of the war placing “a huge demand shock to the economy” from 1942 onward. He is also follows the idea of there being a stronger productivity advancement before the war, 1929 to 1941. He questions whether or not the 1948 economic levels would have been as high as they were if there was no war.
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... production, military enlistments, and industrial production to analyze and show that in the area of non-governmental employment the major sectors of the motor vehicle industry, construction, wholesale trade, agriculture, and retail trade was releasing workers between 1941 and 1943. Instead of using GNP, Fields uses industrial production indexes, military production, military personnel and pay, and military spending to determine his indicator, full-time equivalents in terms of labor in determining how the war may have affected 1948. Fields also uses real private construction spending to show the infrastructure spending was increasing in the 1930s before reaching the same point in 1940 as 1929. Fields concludes the war had little effect on the 1948 levels as of production as he weighs the gains through warfare and what was lost with the switch to military production.
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