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The Democratization of Invention During Early Industrialization: Evidence from the United States, 1790-1846

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  • Kenneth L. Sokoloff
  • B. Zorina Khan

Abstract

We employ the 1860 Census of Manufactures to study rural antebellum manufacturing in the South and Midwest, and find that manufacturing output per capita was similar across regions in counties specialized in the same agricultural products. The southern deficit in manufactures per capita appears to have been largely attributable to the very low levels of output in counties specialized in cotton production. This implies that it was the South's capabilities for the highly profitable cotton production, not the existence of slavery per se, that was responsible for the region's limited industrial development -- at least in rural areas. The other major finding is that in both the South and the Midwest measured total factor productivity was significantly lower in counties specialized in wheat (the most seasonal of agricultural products as regards labor requirements). This is consistent with suggestions that agricultural districts where the predominant crops were highly seasonal in their requirements for labor were well suited to support manufacturing enterprise during the offpeak periods.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Historical Working Papers with number 0010.

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Date of creation: Dec 1989
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Publication status: published as Journal of Economic History, Vol. 50, No. 2, pp. 363-378, June 1990.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberhi:0010

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Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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Cited by:
  1. Alessandro Nuvolari & Michelangelo Vasta, 2013. "Independent Invention in Italy during the Liberal Age, 1861-1913," LEM Papers Series 2013/20, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  2. Magee, Gary Bryan, 1999. "Technological Development and Foreign Patenting: Evidence from 19th-Century Australia," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 344-359, October.
  3. Diana Weinhold & Usha Nair- Reichert, 2004. "Innovation, Inequality and Intellectual Property Rights," Development and Comp Systems 0410002, EconWPA, revised 04 Nov 2004.
  4. Greasley, David & Oxley, Les, 2010. "Knowledge, natural resource abundance and economic development: Lessons from New Zealand 1861-1939," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 47(4), pages 443-459, October.
  5. Valentina Bosetti & Elena Verdolini, 2013. "Clean and Dirty International Technology Diffusion," Working Papers 2013.43, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  6. David Greasley & Les Oxley, 2008. "Re-inventing New Zealand: Institutions Output and Patents 1870-1939," Working Papers in Economics 08/15, University of Canterbury, Department of Economics and Finance.
  7. Acemoglu, Daron, 2008. "Oligarchikus és demokratikus társadalmak
    [Oligarchic versus democratic societies]
    ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(7), pages 622-659.
  8. Iyigun, Murat, 2006. "Clusters of invention, life cycle of technologies and endogenous growth," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 687-719, April.
  9. Schwerin, Joachim & Werker, Claudia, 2003. "Learning innovation policy based on historical experience," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 385-404, December.

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