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Growth theory and industrial revolutions in Britain and America

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  • Knick Harley

Abstract

Long-run economic growth has again become a major focus of economic theory. A perception of technological change as an economic process with externalities has motivated the development of aggregate models that generate different steady-state growth paths. Economic history has also long been interested in long-run economic growth. Here, a dialogue is presented between growth theory and the historical literature on the industrial revolution in Britain and America's surge to international economic leadership in the late nineteenth century. In conclusion, economists' recent thinking about the microeconomics of technological change has provided fruitful material for the economic historian of growth. Unfortunately, the models of endogenous growth, on the other hand, present too aggregated a view of the economy to prove helpful when confronted with the details of economic history.

Suggested Citation

  • Knick Harley, 2003. "Growth theory and industrial revolutions in Britain and America," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 36(4), pages 809-831, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:cje:issued:v:36:y:2003:i:4:p:809-831
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. N. F. R. Crafts & C. Knick Harley, 2002. "Precocious British Industrialization: A General Equilibrium Perspective," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 200213, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
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    4. Hatton, Timothy J. & Williamson, Jeffrey G., 1991. "Unemployment, employment contracts, and compensating wage differentials: michigan in the 1890s," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 51(03), pages 605-632, September.
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    6. Kevin H. O'Rourke & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2001. "Globalization and History: The Evolution of a Nineteenth-Century Atlantic Economy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262650592, January.
    7. Wright, Gavin, 1990. "The Origins of American Industrial Success, 1879-1940," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(4), pages 651-668, September.
    8. Hatton, Timothy J. & Williamson, Jeffrey G., 1991. "Integrated and Segmented Labor Markets: Thinking in Two Sectors," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 51(02), pages 413-425, June.
    9. Crafts, Nicholas, 2002. "The Solow Productivity Paradox in Historical Perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers 3142, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Wright, Gavin, 1997. "Towards a More Historical Approach to Technological Change," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(444), pages 1560-1566, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Domicián Máté & András István Kun & Veronika Fenyves, 2016. "The Impacts of Trademarks and Patents on Labour Productivity in the Knowledge-Intensive Business Service Sectors," The AMFITEATRU ECONOMIC journal, Academy of Economic Studies - Bucharest, Romania, vol. 18(41), pages 104-104, February.
    2. C Knick Harley, 2013. "Slavery, the British Atlantic Economy and the Industrial Revolution," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _113, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • N0 - Economic History - - General
    • N1 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations

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