The Industrial Revolution in Miniature: The Spinning Jenny in Britain, France, and India
AbstractThis paper uses the adoption and invention of the spinning jenny as a test case to understand why the industrial revolution occurred in Britain in the eighteenth century rather than in France or India.� It is shown that wages were much higher relative to capital prices in Britain than in other countries.� Calculation of the profitability of adopting the spinning jenny shows that it was profitable in Britain but not in France or in India.� Since the jenny was profitable to use only in Britain, it was only in Britain that it was worth incurring the costs necessary to develop it.� That is why the jenny was invented in Britain but not elsewhere.� Irrespective of the quality of their institutions or the progressiveness of their cultures, neither the French nor the Indians would have found it profitable to mechanize cotton production in the eighteenth century.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number 375.
Date of creation: 01 Nov 2007
Date of revision:
Industrial Revolution; Invention; Technological Change; Great Divergence;
Other versions of this item:
- Allen, Robert C., 2009. "The Industrial Revolution in Miniature: The Spinning Jenny in Britain, France, and India," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 69(04), pages 901-927, December.
- N63 - Economic History - - Manufacturing and Construction - - - Europe: Pre-1913
- N65 - Economic History - - Manufacturing and Construction - - - Asia including Middle East
- N73 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - Europe: Pre-1913
- N75 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - Asia including Middle East
- O14 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
- O31 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Technological Change; Research and Development; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
- O33 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Technological Change; Research and Development; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2008-03-25 (All new papers)
- NEP-CWA-2008-03-25 (Central & Western Asia)
- NEP-HIS-2008-03-25 (Business, Economic & Financial History)
You can help add them by filling out this form.
Blog mentionsAs found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
- Ten Things Worth Reading, More than Half Economics: February 21, 2010
by Brad DeLong in Grasping Reality with the Invisible Hand on 2010-02-21 08:13:00
- links for 2010-02-11
by Brad DeLong in Grasping Reality with the Invisible Hand on 2010-02-11 08:05:21
- links for 2010-02-21
by Jim in Our Word is Our Weapon on 2010-02-22 03:01:00
- Robert C. Allen, 2013.
"The High Wage Economy and the Industrial Revolution: A Restatement,"
Oxford University Economic and Social History Series
_115, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
- Robert Allen, 2013. "The High wage Economy and the Industrial Revolution: A Restatement," Economics Series Working Papers Number 115, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
- Broadberry, Stephen & Fremdling, Rainer & Solar, Peter M., 2008. "European Industry, 1700 - 1870," GGDC Research Memorandum GD-101, Groningen Growth and Development Centre, University of Groningen.
- R. C. Allen & J. L. Weisdorf, 2011.
"Was there an ‘industrious revolution’ before the industrial revolution? An empirical exercise for England, c. 1300–1830,"
Economic History Review,
Economic History Society, vol. 64(3), pages 715-729, 08.
- Robert C. Allen & Jacob Louis Weisdorf, 2010. "Was there an ‘Industrious Revolution’ before the Industrial Revolution? An Empirical Exercise for England, c. 1300-1830," Discussion Papers 10-14, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
- Leonard Dudley, 2010. "General Purpose Technologies and the Industrial Revolution," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2010-11, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group.
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