The truth is, I've never been passionate about economic principals in the same way that Granddaddy was, though I often pretended to be so in his presence. If I persevered and attempted to understand concepts of macroeconomics, tacking courses into my schedule just for "fun", and eventually majoring in Political Economy, it was to understand a little about how the world works... but moreover, to understand more about my grandfather's work, life, and passion.
C.A. Knox Lovell and Robin C. Sickles brought me one step closer this week in their beautiful memorial tribute, written in prelude to Rice University's Biennial North American Productivity Workshop, to be held in Houston exactly one month from now.
A brief excerpt:
If anyone deserves the appellation of father of productivity analysis, it is Kendrick. He had few predecessors, either analytically or empirically, although he paid particular homage to Fabricant and Hiram S. Davis, then at the Industrial Research Unit of the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce at the University of Pennsylvania.
In our brief discussion of Professor Kendrick’s professional contributions we have chosen to focus on what we consider to be the two most significant of Professor Kendrick’s many contributions to the field of productivity analysis.
Kendrick is best known for his monumental Productivity Trends in the United States (1961), and it is difficult to overstate the impact of this work. Kendrick prefaces a detailed empirical study of productivity from 1899 to 1957 with a discussion of the concepts and measurement of real output, real input and productivity. His empirical investigation reveals substantial variability in rates of productivity change through sub-periods and across sub-sectors of the total economy. He finds productivity growth to account for roughly half of output growth, and more than 80% of growth in output per unit of labor input, capital deepening accounting for the remainder. He also argues conceptually and demonstrates empirically that equality between national product and national income generates a dual measure of productivity change: the difference between the growth rate of output and the growth rate of input is equal to the difference between the growth rate of input prices and the growth rate of output prices. “[T]his is the means whereby the fruits of productivity gains are distributed to workers and investors by the market mechanism.”
Not only was Professor Kendrick a scholar of the first rank, whose contributions to the field of productivity compare to those of Edward Denison, Dale Jorgenson and Zvi Griliches, but he was a wonderful colleague and mentor. One of us (Sickles) had the remarkable fortune to have been a colleague of John Kendrick at George Washington University (not to mention being mentored as a graduate student by Knox Lovell and Peter Schmidt at UNC-Chapel Hill!). John was a warm and thoughtful senior colleague who was giving of his time and professional insights. His influence to generations of scholars and practitioners is profound. His legacy is not only a professional one, however, but for us, a very personal one.He will be missed."
Save for emotional breakdowns during midterm exams, journals of academic research have rarely, if ever, brought tears to my eyes.
I suppose there's a first time for everything.