IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/cup/jechis/v69y2009i04p901-927_00.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Industrial Revolution in Miniature: The Spinning Jenny in Britain, France, and India

Author

Listed:
  • Allen, Robert C.

Abstract

This paper uses the adoption and invention of the spinning jenny as a test case to understand why the industrial revolution occurred in Britain in the eighteenth century rather than in France or India. It is shown that wages were much higher relative to capital prices in Britain than in other countries. Calculation of the profitability of adopting the spinning jenny shows that it was profitable in Britain but not in France or in India. Since the jenny was profitable to use only in Britain, it was only in Britain that it was worth incurring the costs necessary to develop it. That is why the jenny was invented in Britain but not elsewhere. Irrespective of the quality of their institutions or the progressiveness of their cultures, neither the French nor the Indians would have found it profitable to mechanize cotton production in the eighteenth century.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Allen, Robert C., 2009. "The Industrial Revolution in Miniature: The Spinning Jenny in Britain, France, and India," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 69(04), pages 901-927, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:69:y:2009:i:04:p:901-927_00
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://journals.cambridge.org/abstract_S0022050709001326
    File Function: link to article abstract page
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Stephen Broadberry & John Joseph Wallis, 2017. "Growing, Shrinking, and Long Run Economic Performance: Historical Perspectives on Economic Development," NBER Working Papers 23343, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. R. C. Allen & J. L. Weisdorf, 2011. "Was there an ‘industrious revolution’ before the industrial revolution? An empirical exercise for England, c. 1300–1830," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 64(3), pages 715-729, August.
    3. Jane Humphries & Benjamin Schneider, 2016. "Spinning the Industrial Revolution," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _145, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
    4. repec:dgr:rugggd:gd-101 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Robert C. Allen, 2015. "The high wage economy and the industrial revolution: a restatement," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 68(1), pages 1-22, February.
    6. Broadberry Stephen & Fremdling Rainer & Solar Peter M., 2008. "European Industry 1700-1870," Jahrbuch für Wirtschaftsgeschichte / Economic History Yearbook, De Gruyter, vol. 49(2), pages 141-172, December.
    7. Bottomley, Sean, 2014. "Patenting in England, Scotland and Ireland during the Industrial Revolution, 1700-1852," IAST Working Papers 14-07, Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse (IAST).
    8. repec:eee:exehis:v:64:y:2017:i:c:p:21-36 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Robert C. Allen, 2015. "The high wage economy and the industrial revolution: a restatement," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 68(1), pages 1-22, February.
    10. Frey, Carl Benedikt & Osborne, Michael A., 2017. "The future of employment: How susceptible are jobs to computerisation?," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 254-280.
    11. Feldman, Naomi E. & van der Beek, Karine, 2016. "Skill choice and skill complementarity in eighteenth century England," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 94-113.
    12. Leonard Dudley, 2010. "General Purpose Technologies and the Industrial Revolution," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2010-11, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
    13. Julio Martínez-Galarraga & Marc Prat, 2014. "Wages and prices in early Catalan industrialisation," UB Economics Working Papers 2014/305, Universitat de Barcelona, Facultat d'Economia i Empresa, UB Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • N63 - Economic History - - Manufacturing and Construction - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N65 - Economic History - - Manufacturing and Construction - - - Asia including Middle East
    • N73 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N75 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - Asia including Middle East
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:69:y:2009:i:04:p:901-927_00. 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: (Keith Waters). General contact details of provider: http://journals.cambridge.org/jid_JEH .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.