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Industrialization and Urbanization: Did the Steam Engine Contribute to the Growth of Cities in the United States?

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  • Kim, Sukkoo
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    Abstract

    Industrialization and urbanization are seen as twin processes of economic development. However, the exact nature of their causal relationship is still open to considerable debate. This paper uses firm-level data from the manuscripts of the decennial censuses between 1850 and 1880 to examine whether the adoption of the steam engine as the primary power source by manufacturers during industrialization contributed to urbanization. While the data indicate that steam-powered firms were more likely to locate in urban areas than water-powered firms, the adoption of the steam engine did not contribute substantially to urbanization.

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    File URL: http://www.escholarship.org/uc/item/4hd75171.pdf;origin=repeccitec
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Institute of European Studies, UC Berkeley in its series Institute of European Studies, Working Paper Series with number qt4hd75171.

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    Date of creation: 20 Sep 2004
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    Handle: RePEc:cdl:bineur:qt4hd75171

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    1. Atack, Jeremy & Bateman, Fred & Margo, Robert A., 2002. "Part-Year Operation In Nineteenth-Century American Manufacturing: Evidence From The 1870 And 1880 Censuses," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 62(03), pages 792-809, September.
    2. Timothy F. Bresnahan & Manuel Trajtenberg, 1992. "General Purpose Technologies "Engines of Growth?"," NBER Working Papers 4148, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Rosenberg, Nathan & Trajtenberg, Manuel, 2004. "A General-Purpose Technology at Work: The Corliss Steam Engine in the Late-Nineteenth-Century United States," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 64(01), pages 61-99, March.
    4. Sukkoo Kim, 2000. "Urban Development in the United States, 1690–1990," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 66(4), pages 855-880, April.
    5. 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.
    6. Atack, Jeremy & Bateman, Fred & Margo, Robert A., 2003. "Productivity in manufacturing and the length of the working day: evidence from the 1880 census of manufactures," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 170-194, April.
    7. Kenneth L. Sokoloff, 1988. "Inventive Activity in Early Industrial America: Evidence From Patent Records, 1790-1846," UCLA Economics Working Papers 499, UCLA Department of Economics.
    8. Sukkoo Kim & Robert A. Margo, 2003. "Historical Perspectives on U.S. Economic Geography," NBER Working Papers 9594, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Atack, Jeremy, 1979. "Fact in fiction? The relative costs of steam and water power: a simulation approach," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 409-437, October.
    10. Atack, Jeremy & Bateman, Fred & Weiss, Thomas, 1980. "The Regional Diffusion and Adoption of the Steam Engine in American Manufacturing," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 40(02), pages 281-308, June.
    11. Stephen D. Oliner & Daniel E. Sichel, 1994. "Computers and Output Growth Revisited: How Big Is the Puzzle?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(2), pages 273-334.
    12. Atack, Jeremy & Bateman, Fred & Margo, Robert A., 2004. "Skill Intensity and Rising Wage Dispersion in Nineteenth-Century American Manufacturing," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 64(01), pages 172-192, March.
    13. Kenneth L. Sokoloff, 1986. "Productivity Growth in Manufacturing during Early Industrialization: Evidence from the American Northeast, 1820-1860," NBER Chapters, in: Long-Term Factors in American Economic Growth, pages 679-736 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Temin, Peter, 1966. "Steam and Waterpower in the Early Nineteenth Century," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 26(02), pages 187-205, June.
    15. Crafts, Nicholas & Mills, Terence C., 2004. "Was 19th century British growth steam-powered?: the climacteric revisited," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 156-171, April.
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    Cited by:
    1. Atack, Jeremy & Bateman, Fred & Margo, Robert A., 2008. "Steam power, establishment size, and labor productivity growth in nineteenth century American manufacturing," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 185-198, April.

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