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Productivity Growth in the Industrial Revolution: A New Growth Accounting Perspective

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  • CRAFTS, NICHOLAS

Abstract

The issue of why productivity growth during the British industrial revolution was slow despite the arrival of famous inventions is revisited using a growth accounting methodology based on an endogenous innovation model and the perspective of recent literature on general purpose technologies. The results show that steam had a relatively small and long-delayed impact on productivity growth when benchmarked against later technologies such as electricity or ICT. Even so, technological change including embodiment effects accounted entirely for the acceleration in labor productivity growth that allowed the economy to withstand rapid population growth without a decline in living standards.
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  • Crafts, Nicholas, 2004. "Productivity Growth in the Industrial Revolution: A New Growth Accounting Perspective," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 64(02), pages 521-535, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:64:y:2004:i:02:p:521-535_00
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    Cited by:

    1. Edquist, Harald, 2005. "Do hedonic price indexes change history? The case of electrification," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 586, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 29 Apr 2005.
    2. Claire Loupias & Bertrand Wigniolle, 2018. "Technological changes and population growth: the role of land in England," PSE Working Papers halshs-01789598, HAL.
    3. Mo, Pak Hung, 2011. "Institutions, Entrepreneurship and Channels to Sustained Economic Growth," MPRA Paper 28911, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Jacques Thisse & Takatoshi Tabuchi & Xiwei Zhu, 2014. "Technological Progress and Economic Geography_x0003_," ERSA conference papers ersa14p276, European Regional Science Association.
    5. Faruk Aydin & Hulya Saygili & Mesut Saygili & Gokhan Yilmaz, 2010. "Dis Ticarette Kuresel Egilimler ve Turkiye Ekonomisi," Working Papers 1001, Research and Monetary Policy Department, Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey.
    6. Nuvolari, Alessandro & Tartari, Valentina, 2011. "Bennet Woodcroft and the value of English patents, 1617-1841," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 97-115, January.
    7. Michael Kenny, 2014. "Ageing knowledge workers in the european knowledge economy: a resource we cannot afford to lose," QUADERNI DI ECONOMIA DEL LAVORO, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2014(102), pages 29-42.
    8. Llopis, Maria Teresa Sanchis, 2016. "Did electricity drive Spain’s “most progressive decade”?," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 309, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    9. Breandán Ó hUallacháin, 2011. "Does inventive intensity affect urban prosperity?," Regional Science Policy & Practice, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(4), pages 401-420, November.
    10. Gray, Elie & Grimaud, André & Le Bris, David, 2018. "The Farmer, the Blue-collar, and the Monk: Understanding economic development through saturations of demands and non-homothetic productivity gains," TSE Working Papers 18-906, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
    11. 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.
    12. Sequeira, Tiago & Santos, Marcelo & Ferreira-Lopes, Alexandra, 2013. "Why Inventions Occurred in Some Countries and Not in Others?," MPRA Paper 51553, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. O'Brien, Patrick, 2007. "The triumph and denouement of the British fiscal state: taxation for the wars against Revolutionary and Napoleonic France, 1793-1815," Economic History Working Papers 22319, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
    14. Takatoshi Tabuchi & Jacques-François Thisse & Xiwei Zhu, 2014. "Technological Progress and Economic Geography," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-915, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
    15. Nicholas Crafts, 2010. "Cliometrics and technological change: a survey," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(5), pages 1127-1147.
    16. Mo, Pak Hung, 2011. "Entrepreneurs, Sticky Competition and the Schumpeterian Cobb-Douglas Production Function," MPRA Paper 28927, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    17. Elie Gray & André Grimaud & David Le Bris, 2018. "The Farmer, the Blue-collar, and the Monk: Understanding Economic Development through Saturations of Demands and Non-Homothetic Productivity Gains," CESifo Working Paper Series 6970, CESifo Group Munich.
    18. C Knick Harley, 2013. "British and European Industrialization," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _111, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
    19. van Ark, Bart & Smits, Jan Pieter, 2005. "Technology Regimes and Productivity Growth in Europe and the United States: A Comparative and Historical Perspective," Institute of European Studies, Working Paper Series qt1td1h23k, Institute of European Studies, UC Berkeley.
    20. Svante Prado, 2014. "Yeast or mushrooms? Productivity patterns across Swedish manufacturing industries, 1869–1912," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 67(2), pages 382-408, May.
    21. C Knick Harley, 2013. "British and European Industrialization," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _111, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
    22. Robert Allen & Robert C. Allen, 2007. "Engel`s Pause: A Pessimist`s Guide to the British Industrial Revolution," Economics Series Working Papers 315, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    23. Edquist, Harald & Henrekson, Magnus, 2004. "Technological Breakthroughs and Productivity Growth," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 0562, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 23 Jan 2006.
    24. C. Knick Harley, 2013. "British and European Industrialization," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _111, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    25. Robert C. Allen, 2005. "Capital Accumulation, Technological Change, and the Distribution of Income during the British Industrial Revolution," Economics Series Working Papers 239, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.

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