Economics & Finance

The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The U.S. Standard of Living since the Civil War

    Afterword by
  • Robert J. Gordon

How America's high standard of living came to be and why future growth is under threat


Aug 29, 2017
5 x 8 in.
96 b/w illus. 32 tables.
Economics & Finance
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In the century after the Civil War, an economic revolution improved the American standard of living in ways previously unimaginable. Electric lighting, indoor plumbing, motor vehicles, air travel, and television transformed households and workplaces. But has that era of unprecedented growth come to an end? Weaving together a vivid narrative, historical anecdotes, and economic analysis, The Rise and Fall of American Growth challenges the view that economic growth will continue unabated, and demonstrates that the life-altering scale of innovations between 1870 and 1970 cannot be repeated. Gordon contends that the nation’s productivity growth will be further held back by the headwinds of rising inequality, stagnating education, an aging population, and the rising debt of college students and the federal government, and that we must find new solutions. A critical voice in the most pressing debates of our time, The Rise and Fall of American Growth is at once a tribute to a century of radical change and a harbinger of tougher times to come.

Awards and Recognition

  • Winner of the 2017 Excellence in Financial Journalism Book Award, New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants
  • Winner of the 2017 PROSE Award in U.S. History, Association of American Publishers
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • One of Financial Times ( Best Economics Books of 2016
  • One of Foreign Affairs’ Editors’ Picks 2016
  • One of The Economist’s Economics and Business Books of the Year 2016
  • One of The Wall Street Journal’s “The 20 Books That Defined Our Year” 2016
  • One of the Washington Post’s Best Economics Books 2016
  • One of Bloomberg View’s “Five Books to Change Conservatives’ Minds,” chosen by Cass Sunstein
  • One of Bloomberg View’s Great History Books of 2016
  • #36 on Bloomberg’s "50 Most Influential" List
  • One of Bloomberg’s Best Books of 2016
  • One of The New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2016
  • One of Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction Books of 2016 in History
  • One of the Strategy+Business Best Business Books 2016 in Economy
  • Shortlisted for the 2016 Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award
  • One of The Page-Turner blog’s “The Books We Loved in 2016”
  • Longlisted for the 2016 Cundill Prize in Historical Literature, McGill University