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

  • Tirthankar Roy

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.

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File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/27396/
File Function: Open access version.
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Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 27396.

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Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Indian Economic and Social History Review, 2009, 46(4), pp. 579-613. ISSN: 0019-4646
Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:27396
Contact details of provider: Postal: LSE Library Portugal Street London, WC2A 2HD, U.K.
Phone: +44 (020) 7405 7686
Web page: http://www.lse.ac.uk/
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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Krugman, Paul & Venables, Anthony J, 1994. "Globalization and the Inequality of Nations," CEPR Discussion Papers 1015, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. 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.
  6. Eswaran, Mukesh & Kotwal, Ashok, 1994. "Why Poverty Persists in India: A Framework for Understanding the Indian Economy," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195632385, March.
  7. Krugman, Paul, 1980. "Scale Economies, Product Differentiation, and the Pattern of Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 950-59, December.
  8. Dutt, Amitava Krishna, 1992. "The Origins of Uneven Development: The Indian Subcontinent," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 146-50, May.
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