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Coal and the Industrial Revolution, 1700 1869

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  • CLARK, GREGORY
  • JACKS, DAVID

Abstract

How important was coal to the Industrial Revolution? Despite the huge growth of output, and the grip of coal and steam on the popular image of the Industrial Revolution, recent cliometric accounts have assumed coal- mining mattered little to the Industrial Revolution. In contrast both E. A. Wrigley and Kenneth Pomeranz have made coal central to the story. This article constructs new series on coal rents, the price of coal at pithead and at market, and the price of firewood, and uses them to examine this issue. We conclude coal output expanded in the Industrial Revolution mainly as a result of increased demand rather than technological innovations in mining. But that expansion could have occurred at any time before 1760. Further, our coal rents series suggests that English possession of coal reserves made a negligible contribution to Industrial Revolution incomes.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal European Review of Economic History.

Volume (Year): 11 (2007)
Issue (Month): 01 (April)
Pages: 39-72

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Handle: RePEc:cup:ereveh:v:11:y:2007:i:01:p:39-72_00

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Cited by:
  1. Clark, Gregory & O'Rourke, Kevin Hjortshøj & Taylor, Alan M., 2014. "The growing dependence of Britain on trade during the Industrial Revolution," CEPR Discussion Papers 9878, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Henriques, Sofia Teives & Sharp, Paul, 2014. "The Danish Agricultural Revolution in an Energy Perspective: A Case of Development with Few Domestic Energy Sources," Discussion Papers of Business and Economics 9/2014, Department of Business and Economics, University of Southern Denmark.
  3. Alex Trew, . "Spatial Takeoff in the First Industrial Revolution," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics.
  4. Gregory Clark, 2012. "The Enlightened Economy: An Economic History of Britain 1700-1850 : Review Essay," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 50(1), pages 85-95, March.
  5. Gregory Clark, 2006. "What made Britannia great? Did the Industrial Revolution make Britain a World Power?," Working Papers 618, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  6. Steinmueller, W. Edward, 2013. "The pre-industrial energy crisis and resource scarcity as a source of transition," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(10), pages 1739-1748.
  7. Clark, Gregory, 2014. "The Industrial Revolution," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 5, pages 217-262 Elsevier.
  8. repec:clg:wpaper:2012-08 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Ralf R. Meisenzahl & Joel Mokyr, 2011. "The Rate and Direction of Invention in the British Industrial Revolution: Incentives and Institutions," NBER Chapters, in: The Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity Revisited, pages 443-479 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Astrid Kander & David I. Stern, 2013. "Economic Growth and the Transition from Traditional to Modern Energy in Sweden," CAMA Working Papers 2013-65, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.

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