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Trade, Knowledge, and the Industrial Revolution

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  • O'Rourke, Kevin Hjortshøj
  • Rahman, Ahmed
  • Taylor, Alan M.

Abstract

Technological change was unskilled-labour-biased during the early Industrial Revolution of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, but is skill-biased today. This fact is not embedded in extant unified growth models. We develop a model of the transition to sustained economic growth which can endogenously account for both these facts, by allowing the factor bias of technological innovations to reflect the profit-maximising decisions of innovators. Endowments dictated that the initial stages of the Industrial Revolution be unskilled-labour biased. The transition to skill-biased technological change was due to a growth in ``Baconian knowledge'' and international trade. Simulations show that the model does a good job of tracking reality, at least until the mass education reforms of the late nineteenth century.

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  • O'Rourke, Kevin Hjortshøj & Rahman, Ahmed & Taylor, Alan M., 2007. "Trade, Knowledge, and the Industrial Revolution," CEPR Discussion Papers 6293, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6293
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    Cited by:

    1. Garner, Phillip, 2008. "Productivity revolutions and science driven growth," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 101(1), pages 24-26, October.
    2. Williamson, Jeffrey G. & O'Rourke, Kevin H. & Rosés, Joan R., 2007. "Globalization, growth and distribution in Spain 1500-1913," IFCS - Working Papers in Economic History.WH wp07-08, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Instituto Figuerola.
    3. Ahmed S. Rahman, 2008. "A Tale of Two Skill Premia," Working Papers 8021, Economic History Society.
    4. David Flacher, 2005. "Industrial Revolutions and Consumption: A Common Model to the Various Periods of Industrialization," Working Papers halshs-00132241, HAL.
    5. Petros Milionis, 2012. "Long-Run Development in the Open Economy," DEGIT Conference Papers c017_059, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    demography; endogenous growth; trade;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • N10 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • 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

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