The Performance of American Engineering Versus Both Its Foreign Competition and the U.S. Economy as a Whole: an Economic Analysis Spanning 1973-1988

Cuccinelli, Ken, Mechanical Engineering, University of Virginia
Glomm, Gerhard, Department of Economics, University of Virginia

The purpose of this thesis is to objectively determine how well American engineering performed during the period from 1973 until 1987 inclusive. This will be accomplished by comparing the growth of American engineering-intensive industries to both their foreign counterparts in the big seven (Canada, France, W. Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom, United States) and the U.S. economy as a whole. To maintain objectivity, the international comparison of industries will be based on an index of raw physical output with output in 1980=100. This focuses data on the change in performance during the 1973 to 1988 time period, rather than the monetary change, which is more susceptible to international fluctuations. The obstacles to achieving the goal are similar to those in any economic analysis; for example, different countries develop at different rates, at different times in their history. These areas of concern are addressed. Despite the difficulties encountered, this thesis concludes that the U.S. did not utilize or improve its engineering as rapidly as its foreign competitors during the 15 year period under study. Additionally, the performance of American engineering compared to the U.S. economy as a whole was mediocre for the period studied. This thesis will ideally serve as a stepping stone for others interested in the performance of American engineering. Once it can be concluded how well U.S. engineering developed during the period in question, the side issues of education, demographics, and historical perspective, as well as other explanations for U.S, economic performance can be taken into account and developed.

BS (Bachelor of Science)

Mechanical Engineering.
Includes bibliographical references.

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