Coal and the Industrial Revolution, 1700-1869
AbstractHow 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 paper 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 InfoPaper provided by University of California, Davis, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 616.
Date of creation: 10 Apr 2006
Date of revision:
economics; revolution; coal; industrial;
Other versions of this item:
- N53 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - Europe: Pre-1913
- N73 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - Europe: Pre-1913
- O47 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Measurement of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence
- Q32 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Exhaustible Resources and Economic Development
- Q43 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Energy and the Macroeconomy
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- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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