The Census of Manufactures: An Overview

  • Chris Vickers
  • Nicolas L. ZiebarthEmail author
Living reference work entry


This chapter provides an overview of the Census of Manufactures (COM) from the early nineteenth century through the late twentieth century. The focus is on research that uses the original establishment-level schedules. After summarizing how the COM has changed over time in terms of content and quality, the chapter demonstrates the usefulness of the COM in studying a variety of economic questions. These questions include the sources of long-run productivity growth, the causes and consequences of business cycles, and changes in the income distribution. It then highlights the value of collecting additional establishment-level data from other sources.


Great Depression Manufacturing Business Cycles Establishment data 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsAuburn UniversityAuburnUSA
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsAuburn University and NBERAuburnUSA

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