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Melting markets: the rise and decline of the Anglo-Norwegian ice trade, 1850-1920

  • Bodil Bjerkvik Blain
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    By the late 19th century, the export of natural ice from Norway to Britain was a major trade, fuelled by the growing British consumption of ice. Although new technology eventually allowed the production of artificial ice, natural ice retained a strong market position until World War I. This dissertation investigates the rise and fall of the Anglo-Norwegian ice trade, including the reasons behind the Norwegian success (comparative advantage, proximity to Britain and long-standing trade relations with Britain) and the rapid and persistent growth of British consumption of ice (high urbanisation, and growth of food-processing industries). Furthermore, it seeks to explain the continued use of natural ice long after the introduction of artificial ice and mechanical refrigeration. Seasonal aspects and supply shocks were instrumental in promoting technological change, but the diffusion of the new technologies varied across industries, and was affected by economic and social factors.

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    Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History in its series Economic History Working Papers with number 22471.

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    Length: 59 pages
    Date of creation: Feb 2006
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:ehl:wpaper:22471
    Contact details of provider: Postal: LSE, Dept. of Economic History Houghton Street London, WC2A 2AE, U.K.
    Phone: +44 (0) 20 7955 7084
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    1. Cowan, Ruth Schwartz, 1997. "A Social History of American Technology," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195046052.
    2. Nelson, Richard R. & Winter, Sidney G., 1977. "In search of useful theory of innovation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 36-76, January.
    3. Rosenberg, Nathan, 1972. "Factors affecting the diffusion of technology," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 3-33.
    4. Scott, Peter, 2001. "Path Dependence and Britain's "Coal Wagon Problem"," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 366-385, July.
    5. Nelson, Richard R & Winter, Sidney G & Schuette, Herbert L, 1976. "Technical Change in an Evolutionary Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 90(1), pages 90-118, February.
    6. S. J. Liebowitz & Stephen E. Margolis, 1994. "Network Externality: An Uncommon Tragedy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(2), pages 133-150, Spring.
    7. Mokyr, Joel, 1992. "Technological Inertia in Economic History," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 52(02), pages 325-338, June.
    8. Rosenberg, Nathan, 1969. "The Direction of Technological Change: Inducement Mechanisms and Focusing Devices," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(1), pages 1-24, Part I Oc.
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