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NEW ANSWERS TO OLD QUESTIONS: EXPLAINING THE SLOW ADOPTION OF RING SPINNING IN LANCASHIRE, 1880–l913

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  • Leunig, Timothy

Abstract

This article reexamines theories previously advanced to explain Lancashire's slow adoption of ring spinning. New cost estimates show that although additional transport costs and technical complementarities reduced ring adoption rates, these supply-side constraints were not dominant. Instead what mattered most were demand-side factors. Lancashire produced far more fine yarns than other countries, and this yarn was better spun on mules. Furthermore, Lancashire had a sizeable export trade in yarn, a market again more suited to mule spinning. Low ring adoption rates were thus a rational response to demand patterns dominated by high-quality goods.

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  • Leunig, Timothy, 2001. "NEW ANSWERS TO OLD QUESTIONS: EXPLAINING THE SLOW ADOPTION OF RING SPINNING IN LANCASHIRE, 1880–l913," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 61(2), pages 439-466, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:61:y:2001:i:02:p:439-466_02
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    Cited by:

    1. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James Robinson, 2005. "The Rise of Europe: Atlantic Trade, Institutional Change, and Economic Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 546-579, June.
    2. Tim Leunig & Joachim Voth, 2011. "Spinning Welfare: the Gains from Process Innovation in Cotton and Car Production," CEP Discussion Papers dp1050, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    3. Crafts, Nicholas, 2011. "British Relative Economic Decline Revisited," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 42, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    4. Christopher Spencer & Paul Temple, 2012. "Alternative Paths of Learning: Standardisation and Growth in Britain, 1901-2009," Discussion Paper Series 2012_10, Department of Economics, Loughborough University, revised Oct 2012.
    5. Joan R. Rosés, 2009. "Subcontracting and vertical integration in the Spanish cotton industry1," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 62(1), pages 45-72, February.

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