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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 paper re-examines theories previously advanced to explain Lancashire’s slow adoption of ring spinning. New cost estimates show that although additional transport costs and technical complementarities between certain types of machine 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 that yarn was better spun on mules. Furthermore, Lancashire had a sizeable export yarn trade, a market again more suited to mule spinning. Low ring adoption rates were a positive 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(02), pages 439-466, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:61:y:2001:i:02:p:439-466_02
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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. John Jewkes, 1951. "The Growth Of World Industry," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(1), pages 1-15.
    3. Harley, C. K., 1974. "Skilled labour and the choice of technique in Edwardian industry," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 391-414.
    4. William Lazonick, 1981. "Factor Costs and the Diffusion of Ring Spinning in Britain Prior to World War I," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 96(1), pages 89-109.
    5. Lars G. Sandberg, 1969. "American Rings and English Mules: The Role of Economic Rationality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 83(1), pages 25-43.
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    Cited by:

    1. Leunig, Tim, 2002. "Can profitable arbitrage opportunities in the raw cotton market explain Britain’s continued preference for mule spinning?," Economic History Working Papers 515, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
    2. Crafts, Nicholas & O’Rourke, Kevin Hjortshøj, 2014. "Twentieth Century Growth*This research has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) / ERC grant agreement no. 249546.," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 6, pages 263-346 Elsevier.
    3. Crafts, Nicholas, 2012. "British relative economic decline revisited: The role of competition," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 17-29.
    4. Ciliberto, Federico, 2010. "Were British cotton entrepreneurs technologically backward? Firm-level evidence on the adoption of ring spinning," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 47(4), pages 487-504, October.
    5. 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.
    6. Joan R. Rosés, 2009. "Subcontracting and vertical integration in the Spanish cotton industry -super-1," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 62(1), pages 45-72, February.
    7. Crafts, Nicholas, 2011. "British Relative Economic Decline Revisited," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 42, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    8. 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.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • N0 - Economic History - - General
    • R14 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Land Use Patterns
    • J01 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics: General

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