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European Industry, 1700 - 1870

  • Broadberry, Stephen
  • Fremdling, Rainer
  • Solar, Peter M.

    (Groningen University)

This paper offers an overview of the development of European industry between 1700 and 1870, drawing in particular on the recent literature that has emerged following the formation of the European Historical Economics Society in 1991. The approach thus makes use of economic analysis and quantitative methods where appropriate. There are a number of important revisions, compared with previous accounts of Europe?s Industrial Revolution, particularly as embodied in the major existing textbooks on European economic history. First, the Industrial Revolution now emerges as a more gradual process than was once implied by the use of the ?take-off? metaphor. Nevertheless, the scale of the structural transformation that occurred during the process of industrialisation continues to justify the use of the term ?Industrial Revolution?. Second, although the emphasis on the central role of technological change is not new, we use economic analysis to shed new light on the process. Drawing on a model of technological choice first introduced by Paul David, we emphasise the importance of factor prices for the initial switch to modern capital intensive production methods in Britain, the rate of diffusion of these methods to other countries and path dependent technological change. In the cotton industry, particular emphasis is placed on the role of high wages, while in the iron industry, the price of coal is seen to pay an important part. We also draw on the idea of a General Purpose Technology to evaluate the role of steam power.

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Paper provided by Groningen Growth and Development Centre, University of Groningen in its series GGDC Research Memorandum with number GD-101.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:dgr:rugggd:gd-101
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  1. Peter King, 2005. "The production and consumption of bar iron in early modern England and Wales," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 58(1), pages 1-33, 02.
  2. Allen, Robert C., 2009. "The Industrial Revolution in Miniature: The Spinning Jenny in Britain, France, and India," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 69(04), pages 901-927, December.
  3. Sullivan, Richard J., 1989. "England's Age of invention: The acceleration of patents and patentable invention during the industrial revolution," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 424-452, October.
  4. Fremdling, Rainer, 2002. "Foreign trade-transfer-adaptation: the British iron making technology on the continent (Belgium and France)," GGDC Research Memorandum 200255, Groningen Growth and Development Centre, University of Groningen.
  5. 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.
  6. Galor, Oded, 2005. "From Stagnation to Growth: Unified Growth Theory," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 4, pages 171-293 Elsevier.
  7. Guillaume Daudin, 2005. "Commerce et prospérité : la France au XVIIIe siècle," Sciences Po publications 19, Sciences Po.
  8. Stephen Broadberry & Bishnupriya Gupta, 2009. "Lancashire, India, and shifting competitive advantage in cotton textiles, 1700-1850: the neglected role of factor prices -super-1," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 62(2), pages 279-305, 05.
  9. Rosenberg, Nathan & Trajtenberg, Manuel, 2004. "A General-Purpose Technology at Work: The Corliss Steam Engine in the Late-Nineteenth-Century United States," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 64(01), pages 61-99, March.
  10. Fremdling, Rainer, 1977. "Railroads and German Economic Growth: A Leading Sector Analysis with a Comparison to the United States and Great Britain," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 37(03), pages 583-604, September.
  11. Prados de la Escosura Leandro, 2003. "El progreso económico de España (1850-2000)," Books, Fundacion BBVA / BBVA Foundation, edition 1, number 201136.
  12. Fremdling, Rainer, 1995. "Anglo-German Rivalry on Coal Markets in France, the Netherlands and Germany, 1850-1913," GGDC Research Memorandum 199521, Groningen Growth and Development Centre, University of Groningen.
  13. Schulze, Max-Stephan, 2000. "Patterns of growth and stagnation in the late nineteenth century Habsburg economy," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 4(03), pages 311-340, December.
  14. Tim Leunig, 2005. "Time is money: a re-assessment of the passenger social savings from Victorian British railways," Economic History Working Papers 22551, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
  15. Mendels, Franklin F., 1972. "Proto-industrialization: The First Phase of the Industrialization Process," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 32(01), pages 241-261, March.
  16. Broadberry, Stephen N & Gupta, Bishnupriya, 2005. "The Early Modern Great Divergence: Wages, Prices and Economic Development in Europe and Asia, 1500-1800," CEPR Discussion Papers 4947, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Fenoaltea, Stefano, 2003. "Peeking Backward: Regional Aspects of Industrial Growth in Post-Unification Italy," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 63(04), pages 1059-1102, December.
  18. Fremdling, Rainer, 2000. "Transfer patterns of British technology to the Continent: The case of the iron industry," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 4(02), pages 195-222, August.
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