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Accounting for the wealth of Denmark: a case study of Smithian growth using the emergence of modern accounting in Danish dairying

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  • Markus Lampe
  • Paul Sharp

Abstract

The idea of “Smithian growth” rests on a “natural” development out of agriculture through capital accumulation, and the division of labour. We confront these concepts with an “historical experiment” and the case of Danish agriculture in the nineteenth century. Specifically, we look at how accounting was used to promote specialization, ultimately in butter production, leading to the massive increases in productivity that Smith predicted. We also observe the emergence of Smithian “philosophers”. This ultimately led to the capital-intensive industrialization of Danish agriculture through butter factories, and general development. We argue that this establishes the historical relevance of Smith’s theories.

Suggested Citation

  • Markus Lampe & Paul Sharp, 2019. "Accounting for the wealth of Denmark: a case study of Smithian growth using the emergence of modern accounting in Danish dairying," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 26(4), pages 659-697, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:eujhet:v:26:y:2019:i:4:p:659-697
    DOI: 10.1080/09672567.2019.1634751
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1080/09672567.2019.1634751
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    Cited by:

    1. Boberg-Fazlic, Nina & Sharp, Paul, 2019. "Immigrant Communities and Knowledge Spillovers: DanishAmericans and the Development of the Dairy Industry in the United States," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 420, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    2. Boberg-Fazlic, Nina & Lampe, Markus & Martinelli Lasheras, Pablo & Sharp, Paul, 2020. "Winners and Losers from Enclosure: Evidence from Danish Land Inequality 1682-1895," CEPR Discussion Papers 14616, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Li, Ya-Wei (Jake), 2020. "When Does Critical Habitat Designation Benefit Species Recovery?," Center for Growth and Opportunity at Utah State University 307170, Center for Growth and Opportunity.
    4. Sofia Henriques & Eoin McLaughlin & Paul Sharp & Xanthi Tsoukli & Christian Veddel, 2020. "Opening the Black Box of the Danish Dairy Cooperatives: A Productivity Analysis," Working Papers 0203, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).

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