Engels' pause: Technical change, capital accumulation, and inequality in the british industrial revolution
The paper reviews the macroeconomic data describing the British economy from 1760 to 1913 and shows that it passed through a two stage evolution of inequality. In the first half of the 19th century, the real wage stagnated while output per worker expanded. The profit rate doubled and the share of profits in national income expanded at the expense of labour and land. After the middle of the 19th century, real wages began to grow in line with productivity, and the profit rate and factor shares stabilized. An integrated model of growth and distribution is developed to explain these trends. The model includes an aggregate production function that explains the distribution of income, while a savings function in which savings depended on property income governs accumulation. Simulations with the model show that technical progress was the prime mover behind the industrial revolution. Capital accumulation was a necessary complement. The surge in inequality was intrinsic to the growth process: technical change increased the demand for capital and raised the profit rate and capital's share. The rise in profits, in turn, sustained the industrial revolution by financing the necessary capital accumulation. After the middle of the 19th century, accumulation had caught up with the requirements of technology and wages rose in line with productivity.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- 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.
- Berndt, Ernst R, 1976. "Reconciling Alternative Estimates of the Elasticity of Substitution," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 58(1), pages 59-68, February.
- Horrell, Sara, 1996. "Home Demand and British Industrialization," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 56(03), pages 561-604, September.
- Robert M. Solow, 1956. "A Contribution to the Theory of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(1), pages 65-94.
- Daron Acemoglu, 2003.
"Labor- And Capital-Augmenting Technical Change,"
Journal of the European Economic Association,
MIT Press, vol. 1(1), pages 1-37, 03.
- Daron Acemoglu, 2000. "Labor- and Capital- Augmenting Technical Change," NBER Working Papers 7544, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 1998. "The Origins of Technology-Skill Complementarity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(3), pages 693-732.
- Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 1996. "The Origins of Technology-Skill Complementarity," NBER Working Papers 5657, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Goldin, Claudia D. & Katz, Lawrence F., 1998. "The Origins of Technology-Skill Complementarity," Scholarly Articles 27867130, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- R. V. Jackson, 1987. "The structure of pay in nineteenth-century Britain," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 40(4), pages 561-570, November.
- 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, July.
- Diewert, W. E., 1976. "Exact and superlative index numbers," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 115-145, May.
- Kevin O’rourke & Jeffrey Williamson, 2005. "From Malthus to Ohlin: Trade, Industrialisation and Distribution Since 1500," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 10(1), pages 5-34, 01.
- Temin, Peter, 1997. "Two Views of the British Industrial Revolution," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 57(01), pages 63-82, March.
- Paul A. Samuelson & Franco Modigliani, 1966. "The Pasinetti Paradox in Neoclassical and More General Models," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 33(4), pages 269-301.
- Feinstein, Charles H., 1998. "Pessimism Perpetuated: Real Wages and the Standard of Living in Britain during and after the Industrial Revolution," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 58(03), pages 625-658, September.
- Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2006. "Das Human-Kapital: A Theory of the Demise of the Class Structure," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(1), pages 85-117.
- Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2004. "Das Human Kapital: A Theory of the Demise of the Class Structure," GE, Growth, Math methods 0410003, EconWPA.
- Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2005. "Das Human-Kapital: A Theory of the Demise of the Class Structure," Working Papers 2005-14, Brown University, Department of Economics.
- Gregory Clark, 2007. "Introduction to A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World," Introductory Chapters,in: A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World Princeton University Press.
- Robert Allen & Robert C. Allen, 2007. "Pessimism Preserved: Real Wages in the British Industrial Revolution," Economics Series Working Papers 314, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
- Allen, Robert C., 2001. "The Great Divergence in European Wages and Prices from the Middle Ages to the First World War," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 411-447, October.
- Turner,M. E. & Beckett,J. V. & Afton,B., 1997. "Agricultural Rent in England, 1690â€“1914," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521450539, September.
- Williamson, Jeffrey G., 1990. "The impact of the Corn Laws just prior to repeal," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 123-156, April.
- Sokoloff, Kenneth L., 1984. "Was the transition from the artisanal shop to the nonmechanized factory associated with gains in efficiency?: Evidence from the U.S. Manufacturing censuses of 1820 and 1850," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 351-382, October.
- McAdam, Peter & Willman, Alpo, 2013. "Medium Run Redux," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 17(04), pages 695-727, June. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)