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Forging Ahead and Falling Behind: The Rise and Relative Decline of the First Industrial Nation

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  • Nicholas Crafts

Abstract

This paper considers Britain's failure to maintain its lead in economic growth in the face of overtaking by the United States. Recent cliometric research is reviewed and it is argued that early nineteenth century Britain had a low growth potential by twentieth century standards and that the American growth of the early twentieth century was of a quite different kind. Neither traditional nor new growth theories can encompass this experience and it is suggested that natural resource endowments, location-specific learning processes, and the international migration of factors of production were central aspects of American overtaking of Britain.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.12.2.193
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 12 (1998)
Issue (Month): 2 (Spring)
Pages: 193-210

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:12:y:1998:i:2:p:193-210

Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.12.2.193
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  1. Crafts, N. F. R., 1995. "Exogenous or Endogenous Growth? The Industrial Revolution Reconsidered," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, vol. 55(04), pages 745-772, December.
  2. Broadberry, S., 1993. "Technological Leadership and Productivity Leadership in Manufacturing Since the Industrial Revolution: Implications for the Convergence Debate," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 414, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  3. Nicholas Crafts, 1997. "Some Dimensions of the Quality of Life during the British Industrial Revolution," CEP Discussion Papers dp0339, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  4. Brezis, Elise S & Krugman, Paul R & Tsiddon, Daniel, 1993. "Leapfrogging in International Competition: A Theory of Cycles in National Technological Leadership," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1211-19, December.
  5. Broadberry, S.N., 1992. "Comparative Productivity in British and American Manufacturing During the Nineteenth Century," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 399, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  6. Abramovitz, Moses, 1993. "The Search for the Sources of Growth: Areas of Ignorance, Old and New," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, vol. 53(02), pages 217-243, June.
  7. K. Berrill, 1960. "International Trade And The Rate Of Economic Growth," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, Economic History Society, vol. 12(3), pages 351-359, 04.
  8. Crafts, N. F. R., 1987. "British economic growth, 1700-1850; some difficulties of interpretation," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 245-268, July.
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Cited by:
  1. Ian W. McLean, 2004. "Australian Economic Growth in Historical Perspective," School of Economics Working Papers 2004-01, University of Adelaide, School of Economics.
  2. Nicholas Crafts, 2000. "Development history," Economic History Working Papers, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History 22384, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
  3. Sarah Cochrane, 2009. "Assessing the Impact of World War I on the City of London," Economics Series Working Papers 456, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  4. Tom Nicholas, 1998. "Clogs to clogs in three generations? Explaining entrepreneurial performance in Britain since 1850," Economic History Working Papers, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History 22395, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
  5. Crafts, Nicholas, 2011. "British Relative Economic Decline Revisited," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 8384, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Jurica Å imurina & Josip Tica, 2006. "Historical Perspective of the Role of Technology in Economic Development," EFZG Working Papers Series 0610, Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Zagreb.
  7. Ian W. McLean, 2005. "Why Was Australia So Rich?," School of Economics Working Papers 2005-11, University of Adelaide, School of Economics.
  8. Julio Martínez-Galarraga & Marc Prat, 2014. "Wages and prices in early Catalan industrialisation," UB Economics Working Papers 2014/305, Universitat de Barcelona, Facultat d'Economia i Empresa, UB Economics.
  9. Morse, Stephen, 2003. "For better or for worse, till the human development index do us part?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 281-296, June.
  10. Nicholas Crafts, 1999. "Quantitative economic history," Economic History Working Papers, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History 22390, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
  11. Crafts, Nicholas, 2012. "British relative economic decline revisited: The role of competition," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 17-29.

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