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Did globalisation aid industrial development in colonial India? A study of knowledge transfer in the iron industry

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  • Tirthankar Roy

    (London School of Economics and Political Science)

Abstract

The article explores the link between international economic integration and technological capability in colonial India. The example of the iron industry shows that many new ideas and skills flowed into India from Europe, but not all met with commercial success. The essay suggests a reason why. In those fields in which the costs of complementary factors were relatively low, the chance of success was higher. This condition was present in the craft of the blacksmith, in which the main complementary input was abundant craftsmanship. The condition was slow to develop in iron-smelting, where the costs of fuel, labour, capital and carriage of ore were initially high.

Suggested Citation

  • Tirthankar Roy, 2009. "Did globalisation aid industrial development in colonial India? A study of knowledge transfer in the iron industry," The Indian Economic & Social History Review, , vol. 46(4), pages 579-613, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:indeco:v:46:y:2009:i:4:p:579-613
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Paul Krugman & Anthony J. Venables, 1995. "Globalization and the Inequality of Nations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(4), pages 857-880.
    2. Jennifer Tann & John Aitken, 1992. "The diffusion of the stationary steam engine from Britain to India 1790-1830," The Indian Economic & Social History Review, , vol. 29(2), pages 199-214, June.
    3. Krugman, Paul, 1980. "Scale Economies, Product Differentiation, and the Pattern of Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 950-959, December.
    4. repec:hhs:iuiwop:430 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Eswaran, Mukesh & Kotwal, Ashok, 1994. "Why Poverty Persists in India: A Framework for Understanding the Indian Economy," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195632385.
    6. Dutt, Amitava Krishna, 1992. "The Origins of Uneven Development: The Indian Subcontinent," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 146-150, May.
    7. Douglas E. Haynes & Tirthankar Roy, 1999. "Conceiving mobility: Weavers' migrations in pre-colonial and colonial India," The Indian Economic & Social History Review, , vol. 36(1), pages 35-67, March.
    8. G. Hammersley, 1973. "The Charcoal Iron Industry and its Fuel, 1540–1750," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 26(4), pages 593-613, November.
    9. Hymer, Stephen H & Resnick, Stephen, 1969. "A Model of an Agrarian Economy with Nonagricultural Activities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(4), pages 493-506, Part I Se.
    10. Roy, Tirthankar, 2008. "Knowledge and divergence from the perspective of early modern India," Journal of Global History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(03), pages 361-387, November.
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    JEL classification:

    • N0 - Economic History - - General

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