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Machinery and horse power prices, 1850-1913

Author

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  • Cristián Ducoing

    () (Lund University)

Abstract

"The debate on industrial revolution (IR) has been focused on the incentives behind investment deci- sions and how the preliminary conditions to allow this phenomena were situated in England. One of the most famous and original theories to explain IR is the developed by (Allen, 2012, 2009b,a), who taking into account a vast literature on organic fuels and the transition to fossil fuels (WRIGLEY, 1962; Wrigley, 2013), argues that the reason why IR was British is the unique combination of expensive labour and cheap en- ergy. This combination produces the incentives to invest in labour saving machinery. Several works have proved the existence of cheap fossil fuels during the XIX century, determined by the introduction of coal. Figures and indicators on wages and energy are broadly accepted, however, machinery price indexes are at least discussed and the elaboration of the most used index is based almost completely in the iron price (Feinstein (1972, 1988). To prove the Allen hypothesis we require a better index on machinery, measur- ing horsepower prices, relative costs and changes in their international trade. Using novel data based on merchants catalogues, several international trade statistics plus all the price indexes available, this article presents a improved machinery price index for UK in the period 1850 - 1913; given the influence of British Machinery & Equipment in the world market until 1913, this price index could be useful to understand relative costs transformation in several regions."

Suggested Citation

  • Cristián Ducoing, 2018. "Machinery and horse power prices, 1850-1913," Working Papers 18016, Economic History Society.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehs:wpaper:18016
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    File URL: http://www.ehs.org.uk/dotAsset/581563ae-e053-4f41-aac7-34fe5eb64b6b.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Robert C. Allen, 2015. "The high wage economy and the industrial revolution: a restatement," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 68(1), pages 1-22, February.
    2. Collins, William J. & Williamson, Jeffrey G., 2001. "Capital-Goods Prices And Investment, 1870–1950," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 61(1), pages 59-94, March.
    3. Broadberry, Stephen & Burhop, Carsten, 2007. "Comparative Productivity in British and German Manufacturing Before World War II: Reconciling Direct Benchmark Estimates and Time Series Projections," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 67(2), pages 315-349, June.
    4. Kander, Astrid & Stern, David I., 2014. "Economic growth and the transition from traditional to modern energy in Sweden," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 56-65.
    5. Rubio, M.d.Mar & Folchi, Mauricio, 2012. "Will small energy consumers be faster in transition? Evidence from the early shift from coal to oil in Latin America," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 50-61.
    6. E. A. Wrigley, 1962. "The Supply of Raw Materials in the Industrial Revolution," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 15(1), pages 1-16, August.
    7. Allen,Robert C., 2009. "The British Industrial Revolution in Global Perspective," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521868273.
    8. Allen, Robert C., 2012. "Technology and the great divergence: Global economic development since 1820," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 1-16.
    9. Allen, Robert C., 2009. "Engels' pause: Technical change, capital accumulation, and inequality in the british industrial revolution," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 46(4), pages 418-435, October.
    10. Xavier Tafunell & Cristián Ducoing, 2016. "Non-Residential Capital Stock in Latin America, 1875–2008: New Estimates and International Comparisons," Australian Economic History Review, Economic History Society of Australia and New Zealand, vol. 56(1), pages 46-69, March.
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    Keywords

    Machinery prices; Industrial Revolution; Technological change.;

    JEL classification:

    • N13 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N63 - Economic History - - Manufacturing and Construction - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N70 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
    • 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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