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The First Industrial Revolution: Resolving the Slow Growth/Rapid Industrialization Paradox

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  • Nicholas Crafts

    (London School of Economics,)

Abstract

The paper reviews recent attempts to quantify the British industrial revolution. It concludes that the episode was one of rapid industrialization but modest growth. To a considerable extent this is explained by the early adoption of capitalist farming and the weak impact of steam on productivity growth. However, this should not detract from a marked acceleration in the rate of technological change by the second quarter of the 19th century. This may be explicable in an endogenous innovation framework in terms of a reduced cost of accessing useful knowledge. Models of long-run growth should take this enhanced technological capability seriously. (JEL:N23) Copyright (c) 2005 The European Economic Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicholas Crafts, 2005. "The First Industrial Revolution: Resolving the Slow Growth/Rapid Industrialization Paradox," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 525-534, 04/05.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:3:y:2005:i:2-3:p:525-534
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    Cited by:

    1. Nico Voigtländer & Hans-Joachim Voth, 2006. "Why England? Demographic factors, structural change and physical capital accumulation during the Industrial Revolution," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 11(4), pages 319-361, December.
    2. Nico Voigtländer & Joachim Voth, 2005. "Why England? Demand, growth and inequality during the Industrial Revolution," Economics Working Papers 857, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Dec 2006.
    3. John Foster, 2014. "Energy, knowledge and economic growth," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 24(2), pages 209-238, April.
    4. Jakob Madsen & James Ang & Rajabrata Banerjee, 2010. "Four centuries of British economic growth: the roles of technology and population," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 15(4), pages 263-290, December.
    5. 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.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • N23 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - Europe: Pre-1913

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