Prices and Profits in Cotton Textiles During the Industrial Revolution
AbstractCotton textile firms led the development of machinery-based industrialization in the Industrial Revolution.� This paper presents price and profits data extracted from the accounting records of three cotton firms between the 1770s and the 1820s.� The course of prices and profits in cotton textiles illumine the nature of the economic processes at work.� Some historians have seen the Industrial Revolution as a Schumpeterian process in which discontinuous technological change created large profits for innovators and succeeding decades were characterized by slow diffusion.� Technological secrecy and imperfect capital markets limited expansion of use of the new technology and output expanded as profits were reinvested until eventually the new technology dominated.� The evidence here supports a more equilibrium view which the industry expanded rapidly and prices fell in response to technological change.� Price and profit evidence indicates that expansion of the industry had led to dramatic price declines by the 1780s and there is no evidence of super profits thereafter.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number Number 81.
Date of creation: 01 May 2010
Date of revision:
Industrial Revolution; Cotton textiles; Prices; Profits;
Other versions of this item:
- C. Knick Harley, 2010. "Prices and Profits in Cotton Textiles During the Industrial Revolution," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _081, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
- N63 - Economic History - - Manufacturing and Construction - - - Europe: Pre-1913
- N83 - Economic History - - Micro-Business History - - - Europe: Pre-1913
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.:
- Mokyr, Joel, 1976. "Growing-up and the industrial revolution in Europe," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 371-396, November.
- C. Knick Harley, 1998. "Cotton Textile Prices and the Industrial Revolution," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 51(1), pages 49-83, 02.
- Paul A. David & S. Ryan Johansson & Andrea Pozzi, 2010.
"The Demography of an Early Mortality Transition: Life Expectancy, Survival and Mortality Rates for Britain's Royals, 1500-1799,"
Oxford University Economic and Social History Series
_083, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
- Paul David & S. Ryan Johansson and Andrea Pozzi, 2010. "The Demography of an Early Mortality Transition: Life Expectancy, Survival and Mortality Rates for Britain's Royals, 1500-1799," Economics Series Working Papers Number 83, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
- Harley, C. Knick, 2012. "Was technological change in the early Industrial Revolution Schumpeterian? Evidence of cotton textile profitability," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 516-527.
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