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Wartime Prosperity? A Reassessment of the U.S. Economy in the 1940s

Robert Higgs
The Journal of Economic History
Vol. 52, No. 1 (Mar., 1992), pp. 41-60
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2123344
Page Count: 20
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Wartime Prosperity? A Reassessment of the U.S. Economy in the 1940s
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Abstract

Relying on standard measures of macroeconomic performance, historians and economists believe that "war prosperity" prevailed in the United States during World War II. This belief is ill-founded, because it does not recognize that the United States had a command economy during the war. From 1942 to 1946 some macroeconomic performance measures are statistically inaccurate; others are conceptually inappropriate. A better grounded interpretation is that during the war the economy was a huge arsenal in which the well-being of consumers deteriorated. After the war genuine prosperity returned for the first time since 1929.

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