Accurate measurements and design standards: consistency of design and the travel of 'facts' between heterogeneous groups
AbstractDesign standards are carriers and creators of facts, enabling facts about product value to travel between groups, and assisting in the creation of product value by establishing a reference or comparison against which product attributes are compared. However, when design standards are not consistent, facts about product value may not travel well, even when designs can be expressed or measured with a high degree of precision. Examining the evidence from British iron and steel industry in the nineteenth century, this paper demonstrates how inconsistent design standards (wire sizes) inhibited the travel of facts about the ‘true value’ of wire products. Consistency in wire sizes depended upon the desirability of certain sizes amongst user and producer groups; often they differed both within and between the relevant groups. Convergence on a common system had to be achieved through intense negotiations between the producer and user groups, with the state becoming involved as an arbitrator. Consistency was a negotiated construct; once achieved, it enabled facts about wire products to be transmitted using consistent design standards.
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 London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History in its series Economic History Working Papers with number 22518.
Length: 63 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2007
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: LSE, Dept. of Economic History Houghton Street London, WC2A 2AE, U.K.
Phone: +44 (0) 20 7955 7084
Web page: http://www.lse.ac.uk/economicHistory/
More information through EDIRC
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- L6 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing
- B1 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925
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.:
- Heli Koski & Tobias Kretschmer, 2004.
"Entry, Standards and Competition: Firm Strategies and the Diffusion of Mobile Telephony,"
Review of Industrial Organization,
Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 89-113, November.
- Koski, Heli & Kretschmer, Tobias, 2002. "Entry, Standards and Competition : Firm Strategies and the Diffusion of Mobile Telephony," Discussion Papers 824, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
- Heli Koski & Tobias Kretschmer, 2005. "Entry, standards and competition : firm strategies and the diffusion of mobile telephony," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 801, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
- Pollard, Sidney, 1983. "Capitalism and rationality: A study of measurements in British coal mining, ca. 1750-1850," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 110-129, January.
- Searle, G. R., 1998. "Morality and the Market in Victorian Britain," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198206989.
- Metcalfe, J. S. & Miles, Ian, 1994. "Standards, selection and variety: an evolutionary approach," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 6(3-4), pages 243-268, December.
- Arthur, W Brian, 1989. "Competing Technologies, Increasing Returns, and Lock-In by Historical Events," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(394), pages 116-31, March.
- Robert Axelrod & Will Mitchell & Robert E. Thomas & D. Scott Bennett & Erhard Bruderer, 1995. "Coalition Formation in Standard-Setting Alliances," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 41(9), pages 1493-1508, September.
- Joseph Farrell & Garth Saloner, 1984.
"Standardization, Compatibility and Innovation,"
345, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- Paul M Romer, 1999.
"Endogenous Technological Change,"
Levine's Working Paper Archive
2135, David K. Levine.
- David, Paul A, 1985. "Clio and the Economics of QWERTY," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 332-37, May.
- Katz, Michael L & Shapiro, Carl, 1985. "Network Externalities, Competition, and Compatibility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 424-40, June.
- Antonelli, Cristiano, 1994. "Localized technological change and the evolution of standards as economic institutions," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 6(3-4), pages 195-216, December.
- R. C. Floud, 1974. "The Adolescence of American Engineering Competition, 1860-1900," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 27(1), pages 57-71, 02.
- Rosenberg, Nathan, 1963. "Technological Change in the Machine Tool Industry, 1840–1910," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 23(04), pages 414-443, December.
- Cowan, Robin, 1990.
"Nuclear Power Reactors: A Study in Technological Lock-in,"
The Journal of Economic History,
Cambridge University Press, vol. 50(03), pages 541-567, September.
- Cowan, Robin, 1988. "Nuclear Power Reactors: A Study In Technological Lock-In," Working Papers 88-33, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
- Swann, Peter & Temple, Paul & Shurmer, Mark, 1996. "Standards and Trade Performance: The UK Experience," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(438), pages 1297-1313, September.
- S. B. Saul, 1967. "The Market and the Development of the Mechanical Engineering Industries in Britain, 1860-1914," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 20(1), pages 111-130, 04.
- Allen, Robert C., 1979. "International Competition in Iron and Steel, 1850–1913," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 39(04), pages 911-937, December.
- Stanley M. Besen & Joseph Farrell, 1994. "Choosing How to Compete: Strategies and Tactics in Standardization," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(2), pages 117-131, Spring.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Lucy Ayre on behalf of EH Dept.).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.