A British industrial success: productivity in the Lancashire and New England cotton spinning industries a century ago
AbstractThis paper uses new product-specific, micro-level US data to show that New England had lower levels of productivity in cotton spinning than Lancashire, c. 1900, contradicting results derived by Broadberry from the Censuses of Production. The discrepancy stems from the Censuses’ poor methods of aggregating heterogeneous yarn output. The finding that Britain – the labour-abundant country – has higher labour productivity contradicts the Rothbarth-Habakkuk model. We suggest Britain’s industrial success stems from more intensive competition, manifested through external economies of scale and longer production runs. We finish with some speculative implications for British performance in the first and second industrial revolutions.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 494.
Date of creation: Feb 2003
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Economic History Review, February, 2003, 56(1), pp. 90-117. ISSN: 1468-0289
cotton; spinning; Lancashire; New England; productivity; Rothbarth-Habakkuk; Chandler; rings; mules; external economies of scale; competition;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- N0 - Economic History - - General
- R14 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Land Use Patterns
- J01 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics: General
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