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

Domestic Reshufflings, Such as Transport and Coal, Do Not Explain the Modern World

Contents:

Author Info

  • McCloskey, Deirdre Nansen
Registered author(s):

    Abstract

    Transportation improvements cannot have caused anything close to the factor of 16 in British economic growth. By Harberger’s (and Fogel’s) Law, an industry that is 10% of national product, improving by 50 percent on the 50% of non-natural routes, results in a mere one-time increase of product of 2.5% (= .1 x .5 x .5), when the thing to be explained is an increase of 1500%. Nor is transport rescued by “dynamic” effects, which are undermined by (1.) the small size of the static gain to start them off and (2.) the instable economic models necessary to make them nonlinear dynamic. The same holds for many other suggested causes of the modern world: enclosure, for example, or the division of labor or the Kuznets-Williamson Hypothesis of reallocation from agriculture to industry, country to town. Wider geographical arguments, such as Diamond’s or Sachs’, turn out to be ill-timed to explain what we wish to explain. And “resources,” such as oil or gold, have both the Harberger Problem and the timing problem. Not even coal---the favorite of Wrigley, Pomeranz, Allen, and Harris---can survive the criticism that it was transportable and substitutable. The factor-bias arguments of Allen have the old problem of the Habbakuk Hypothesis, namely, that all factors are scarce. Even if we add up all the static and quasi-dynamic effects of resources, they do not explain Britain’s lead, or Japan’s or Hong Kong’s catching up.

    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://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/18925/
    File Function: original version
    Download Restriction: no

    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 18925.

    as in new window
    Length:
    Date of creation: 07 May 2009
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:18925

    Contact details of provider:
    Postal: Schackstr. 4, D-80539 Munich, Germany
    Phone: +49-(0)89-2180-2219
    Fax: +49-(0)89-2180-3900
    Web page: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de
    More information through EDIRC

    Related research

    Keywords: British economic growth; transportation; coal; growth hypotheses; industrial revolution;

    Find related papers by JEL classification:

    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. Paul A. David, 1969. "Transport Innovation and Economic Growth: Professor Fogel on and off the Rails," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 22(3), pages 506-525, December.
    2. Fremdling, Rainer, 2000. "Transfer patterns of British technology to the Continent: The case of the iron industry," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 4(02), pages 195-222, August.
    3. Olmstead,Alan L. & Rhode,Paul W., 2008. "Creating Abundance," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521857116.
    4. McCloskey, Donald N., 1972. "The Enclosure of Open Fields: Preface to a Study of Its Impact on the Efficiency of English Agriculture in the Eighteenth Century," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 32(01), pages 15-35, March.
    5. Williamson, Jeffrey G, 1987. "Did English Factor Markets Fail during the Industrial Revolution?," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 39(4), pages 641-78, December.
    6. Fogel, Robert William, 1979. "Notes on the Social Saving Controversy," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 39(01), pages 1-54, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    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:pra:mprapa:18925. 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: (Ekkehart Schlicht).

    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.