Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Capital Accumulation, Technological Change, and the Distribution of Income during the British Industrial Revolution

Contents:

Author Info

  • Robert C. Allen

Abstract

The paper reviews the macroeconomic data describing the British economy during the industrial revolution and shows that they contain a story of dramatically increasing inequality between 1800 and 1840: GDP per worker rose 37%, real wages stagnated, and the profit rate doubled. The share of profits in national income expanded at the expense of labour and land. A Cambridge-Cambridge model of economic growth and income distribution is developed to explain these trends. An aggregate production function explains the distribution of income (as in Cambridge, MA), while a savings function in which savings depended on property income (as in Cambridge, England) governs accumulation. Simulations with the model show that technical progress was the prime mover behind the industrial revolution. Capital accumulation was a necessary complement. The surge in inequality was intrinsic to the growth process. Technical change increased the demand for capital and raised the profit rate and capital`s share. The rise in profits, in turn, sustained the industrial revolution by financing the necessary capital accumulation.

Download Info

If 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.
File URL: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/materials/working_papers/paper239.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number 239.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: 01 Jun 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:239

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Manor Rd. Building, Oxford, OX1 3UQ
Email:
Web page: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: British Industrial Revolution; Kuznets Curve; Inequality; Savings; Investment;

Find related papers by JEL classification:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
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.:
as in new window
  1. Nicholas Crafts & Anthony Venables, 2003. "Globalization in History.A Geographical Perspective," NBER Chapters, in: Globalization in Historical Perspective, pages 323-370 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Allen, Robert C., 2001. "The Great Divergence in European Wages and Prices from the Middle Ages to the First World War," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 411-447, October.
  3. N. F. R. Crafts, 1983. "British Economic Growth, 1700-1831: A Review of the Evidence," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 36(2), pages 177-199, 05.
  4. Harley, C. Knick, 1982. "British Industrialization Before 1841: Evidence of Slower Growth During the Industrial Revolution," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 42(02), pages 267-289, June.
  5. Maxine Berg & Pat Hudson, 1992. "Rehabilitating the industrial revolution," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 45(1), pages 24-50, 02.
  6. Crafts, N. F. R., 1987. "British economic growth, 1700-1850; some difficulties of interpretation," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 245-268, July.
  7. R. V. Jackson, 1987. "The structure of pay in nineteenth-century Britain," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 40(4), pages 561-570, November.
  8. Feinstein, Charles H., 1998. "Pessimism Perpetuated: Real Wages and the Standard of Living in Britain during and after the Industrial Revolution," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 58(03), pages 625-658, September.
  9. N. F. R. Crafts & C. K. Harley, 1992. "Output growth and the British industrial revolution: a restatement of the Crafts-Harley view," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 45(4), pages 703-730, November.
  10. Peter H. Lindert, . "Three Centuries Of Inequality In Britain And America," Department of Economics 97-09, California Davis - Department of Economics.
  11. Horrell, Sara & Humphries, Jane, 1992. "Old Questions, New Data, and Alternative Perspectives: Families' Living Standards in the Industrial Revolution," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 52(04), pages 849-880, December.
  12. Crafts, N. F. R., 1985. "English Workers' Real Wages During the Industrial Revolution: Some Remaining Problems," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 45(01), pages 139-144, March.
  13. Heim, Carol E. & Mirowski, Philip, 1991. "Crowding out: A Response to Black and Gilmore," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 51(03), pages 701-706, September.
  14. Horrell, Sara, 1996. "Home Demand and British Industrialization," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 56(03), pages 561-604, September.
  15. Nicholas Crafts & C. Knick Harley, 2002. "Precocious British industrialization: a general equilibrium perspective," Economic History Working Papers 22368, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
  16. A. B. Atkinson, 2005. "Top incomes in the UK over the 20th century," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 168(2), pages 325-343.
  17. Diewert, W. E., 1976. "Exact and superlative index numbers," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 115-145, May.
  18. Buchinsky, Moshe & Polak, Ben, 1993. "The Emergence of a National Capital Market in England, 1710–1880," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 53(01), pages 1-24, March.
  19. Crafts, Nicholas, 2004. "Productivity Growth in the Industrial Revolution: A New Growth Accounting Perspective," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 64(02), pages 521-535, June.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Nico Voigtländer & Hans-Joachim Voth, 2006. "Why England? Demographic factors, structural change and physical capital accumulation during the Industrial Revolution," DEGIT Conference Papers c011_003, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
  2. Mehdi Senouci, 2012. "Technical change in a neoclassical two-sector model of optimal growth," PSE Working Papers halshs-00589627, HAL.
  3. Hernando Zuleta, 2008. "Seasons, savings and GDP," DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO 004592, UNIVERSIDAD DEL ROSARIO.
  4. Hernando Zuleta, 2007. "Biased innovations in the Harrod-Domar model," REVISTA DE ECONOMÍA DEL ROSARIO, UNIVERSIDAD DEL ROSARIO.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:239. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Caroline Wise).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.