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Britannia ruled the waves

  • Tim Leunig

This paper uses new micro-level US data to re-examine productivity leadership in cotton spinning c. 1900. We find that output aggregation problems make the Census unreliable in this industry, and that Lancashire, not New England was the productivity leader for almost every type of yarn. This is true both for the operation of a given machinery type, and when comparing machinery typical in each country. Higher capital and labour productivity rates imply that Lancashire’s combination of a more favourable climate, external economies of scale and more experienced workers dominated the advantages that New England firms derived from greater scale.

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File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/536/
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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 536.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ehl:wpaper:536
Contact details of provider: Postal: LSE, Dept. of Economic History Houghton Street London, WC2A 2AE, U.K.
Phone: +44 (0) 20 7955 7084
Web page: http://www.lse.ac.uk/economicHistory/

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  1. Lazonick, William H., 1981. "Production Relations, Labor Productivity, and Choice of Technique: British and U.S. Cotton Spinning," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 41(03), pages 491-516, September.
  2. Jean Tirole, 1988. "The Theory of Industrial Organization," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262200716, June.
  3. Lazonick, William, 1984. "Rings and Mules in Britain: Reply [Factor Costs and the Diffusion of Ring Spinning in Britain Prior to World War I]," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 99(2), pages 393-98, May.
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