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The Transportation Revolution in Industrializing Britain: A Survey

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  • Dan Bogart

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of California-Irvine)

Abstract

Between 1700 and 1870 Britain's transport sector improved dramatically. This paper surveys the literature on Britain’s transport revolution and examines its contribution to economic growth during the Industrial Revolution. It reviews the important infrastructural and technological developments, documents the evolution of transport markets, and examines the developmental effects of transport. The most striking finding is that freight charges decreased by 95 percent in real terms from 1700 to 1870 implying an annual TFP of more than 2 percent. The broader conclusion is that transport improvements were major factor in raising the standard of living in Britain and were as significant as other innovations. At the same time, Britain's history shows that many transport improvements were difficult to implement because they required financial innovation and involved taxation and vexing property rights issues.

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File URL: http://www.economics.uci.edu/files/economics/docs/workingpapers/2012-13/bogart-06.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 121306.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:irv:wpaper:121306

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Keywords: Transport Revolution; Industrial Revolution; Infrastructure; Railways; Canals; Turnpike; Shipping;

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References

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  1. Bogart, Dan, 2005. "Did Turnpike Trusts Increase Transportation Investment in Eighteenth-Century England?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 65(02), pages 439-468, June.
  2. Leunig, Timothy, 2006. "Time is Money: A Re-Assessment of the Passenger Social Savings from Victorian British Railways," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 66(03), pages 635-673, September.
  3. Bogart, Dan, 2005. "Turnpike trusts and the transportation revolution in 18th century England," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 42(4), pages 479-508, October.
  4. Broadberry,Stephen & O'Rourke,Kevin H., 2010. "The Cambridge Economic History of Modern Europe," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521708388, April.
  5. Dan Bogart, 2012. "Profiting from Public Works: Financial Returns to Infrastructure and Investment Strategies during Britain's Industrial Revolution," Working Papers 121304, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
  6. Crafts, Nicholas & Mills, Terence C. & Mulatu, Abay, 2007. "Total factor productivity growth on Britain's railways, 1852-1912: A reappraisal of the evidence," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 44(4), pages 608-634, October.
  7. Alex Trew, 2010. "Infrastructure Finance and Industrial Takeoff in England," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 42(6), pages 985-1010, 09.
  8. Roger Fouquet & Peter J.G Pearson, 2011. "The Long Run Demand for Lighting: Elasticities and Rebound Effects in Different Phases of Economic Development," Working Papers 2011-06, BC3.
  9. Hausman, William J., 1985. "British Coal," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 45(03), pages 712-715, September.
  10. Douglass C. North, 1968. "Sources of Productivity Change in Ocean Shipping, 1600-1850," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76, pages 953.
  11. Harley, C. Knick, 1988. "Ocean Freight Rates and Productivity, 1740–1913: The Primacy of Mechanical Invention Reaffirmed," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 48(04), pages 851-876, December.
  12. Dan Bogart, 2011. "Did the Glorious Revolution contribute to the transport revolution? Evidence from investment in roads and rivers," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 64(4), pages 1073-1112, November.
  13. Dorian Gerhold, 1996. "Productivity change in road transport before and after turnpiking, 1690-1840," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 49(3), pages 491-515, 08.
  14. Simon Ville, 1986. "Total Factor Productivity in the English Shipping Industry: The North-east Coal Trade, 1700-1850′," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 39(3), pages 355-370, 08.
  15. Gerard Turnbull, 1987. "Canals, coal and regional growth during the industrial revolution," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 40(4), pages 537-560, November.
  16. A. J. ARNOLD & S. McCARTNEY, 2011. "‘Veritable gold mines before the arrival of railway competition’: but did dividends signal rates of return in the English canal industry?," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 64(1), pages 214-236, February.
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Blog mentions

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  1. High-speed rail in South Africa: too costly to consider
    by Johan Fourie in Johan Fourie's Blog on 2013-06-02 07:57:55

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