Why England? Demand, Growth and Inequality During the Industrial Revolution
AbstractWhy was England first? And why Europe? We present a probabilistic model that builds on big-push models by Murphy, Shleifer and Vishny (1989), combined with hierarchical preferences. The interaction of exogenous demographic factors (in particular the English low-pressure variant of the European marriage pattern) and redistributive institutions such as the "old Poor Law" combined to make an Industrial Revolution more likely. Essentially, industrialization is the result of having a critical mass of consumers that is "rich enough" to afford (potentially) mass-produced goods. Our model is then calibrated to match the main characteristics of the English economy in 1750 and the observed transition until 1850. This allows us to address explicitly one of the key features of the British Industrial Revolution unearthed by economic historians over the last three decades: the slowness of productivity and output change. In our calibration, we find that the probability of Britain industrializing is 5 times larger than France. Contrary to the recent argument by Pomeranz, China in the 18th century had essentially no chance to industrialize at all. This difference is decomposed into a demographic and a policy component, with the former being far more important than the latter.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Barcelona Graduate School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 208.
Date of creation: Jun 2005
Date of revision:
Other versions of this item:
- Nico Voigtländer & Joachim Voth, 2005. "Why England? Demand, growth and inequality during the Industrial Revolution," Economics Working Papers 857, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Dec 2006.
- N13 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: Pre-1913
- E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Capital; Investment; Capacity
- E25 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Aggregate Factor Income Distribution
- O41 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Broadberry, Stephen N & Gupta, Bishnupriya, 2005. "The Early Modern Great Divergence: Wages, Prices and Economic Development in Europe and Asia, 1500-1800," CEPR Discussion Papers 4947, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Foellmi, Reto & Zweimuller, Josef, 2004.
"Inequality, market power, and product diversity,"
Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 139-145, January.
- Nicholas Crafts, 2005. "The First Industrial Revolution: Resolving the Slow Growth/Rapid Industrialization Paradox," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 525-534, 04/05.
- Nicholas Crafts, 2004.
"Steam as a general purpose technology: A growth accounting perspective,"
Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(495), pages 338-351, 04.
- Nicholas Crafts, 2003. "Steam as a general purpose technology: a growth accounting perspective," Economic History Working Papers 22354, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
- Marco Da Rin & Thomas Hellmann, 2001.
"Banks as Catalysts for Industrialization,"
William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series
443, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
- Da Rin, Marco & Hellmann, Thomas F., 2002. "Banks as Catalysts for Industrialization," Research Papers 1398, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
- Marco Da Rin & Thomas Hellmann, 2000. "Banks as Catalysts for Industrialisation," FMG Discussion Papers dp343, Financial Markets Group.
- Marco Da Rin & Thomas Hellmann, . "Banks as Catalysts for Industrialization," Working Papers 103, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
- Charles I. Jones, 1999.
"Was an Industrial Revolution Inevitable? Economic Growth Over the Very Long Run,"
NBER Working Papers
7375, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Jones Charles I., 2001. "Was an Industrial Revolution Inevitable? Economic Growth Over the Very Long Run," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 1(2), pages 1-45, August.
- Charles I. Jones, . "Was an Industrial Revolution Inevitable? Economic Growth Over the Very Long Run," Working Papers 99008, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
- Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2002.
"Natural Selection And The Origin Of Economic Growth,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
MIT Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1133-1191, November.
- Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2000. "Natural Selection and the Origin of economic Growth," Working Papers 2000-18, Brown University, Department of Economics.
- Galor, Oded & Moav, Omer, 2001. "Natural Selection and the Origin of Economic Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 2727, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Galor, Oded & Moav, Omer, 2000. "Natural Selection and the Origin of Economic Growth," Arbetsrapport 2000:5, Institute for Futures Studies.
- Horrell, Sara, 1996. "Home Demand and British Industrialization," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 56(03), pages 561-604, September.
- Gary D. Hansen & Edward C. Prescott, 2002.
"Malthus to Solow,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1205-1217, September.
- Feinstein, Charles, 1988. "The Rise and Fall of the Williamson Curve," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 48(03), pages 699-729, September.
- Crafts, N. F. R., 1995. "Exogenous or Endogenous Growth? The Industrial Revolution Reconsidered," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 55(04), pages 745-772, December.
- N. F. R. Crafts & C. K. Harley, 1992. "Output growth and the British industrial revolution: a restatement of the Crafts-Harley view," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 45(4), pages 703-730, November.
- Robert W. Fogel, 1984.
"Nutrition and the Decline in Mortality Since 1700: Some Preliminary Findings,"
NBER Working Papers
1402, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Robert W. Fogel, 1986. "Nutrition and the Decline in Mortality since 1700: Some Preliminary Findings," NBER Chapters, in: Long-Term Factors in American Economic Growth, pages 439-556 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- N. F. R. Crafts, 1977. "Industrial Revolution in England and France: Some Thoughts on the Question, “Why was England First?”," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 30(3), pages 429-441, 08.
- Robert William Fogel, 1993. "New Sources and New Techniques for the Study of Secular Trends in Nutritional Status, Health, Mortality, and the Process of Aging," NBER Historical Working Papers 0026, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- repec:cup:jechis:v:44:y:1984:i:03:p:801-805_03 is not listed on IDEAS
- David S. Landes, 1994. "What room for accident in history?: explaining big changes by small events," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 47(4), pages 637-656, November.
- repec:hal:cepnwp:halshs-00132241 is not listed on IDEAS
- Gonçola Monteiro & Alvaro Pereira, 2006. "From Growth Spurts to Sustained Growth," Discussion Papers 06/24, Department of Economics, University of York.
- Gonçalo Monteiro & Alvaro S. Pereira, 2006. "From Growth Spurts to Sustained Growth: The Nature of Growth and Unified Growth Theory," DEGIT Conference Papers c011_004, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Bruno Guallar).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.