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The Location of the UK Cotton Textiles Industry in 1838: a Quantitative Analysis

  • Nicholas Crafts

    (University of Warwick)

  • Nikolaus Wolf

    (Humboldt University Berlin)

We examine the geography of cotton textiles in Britain in 1838 to test claims about why the industry came to be so heavily concentrated in Lancashire. Our analysis considers both first and second nature aspects of geography including the availability of water power, humidity, coal prices, market access and sunk costs. We show that some of these characteristics have substantial explanatory power. Moreover, we exploit the change from water to steam power to show that the persistent effect of first nature characteristics on industry location can be explained by a combination of sunk costs and agglomeration effects.

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File URL: http://ehes.org/EHES_No45.pdf
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Paper provided by European Historical Economics Society (EHES) in its series Working Papers with number 0045.

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Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hes:wpaper:0045
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.ehes.org

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  1. Paulo Guimaraes & Octavio Figueiredo & Douglas Woodward, 2000. "A tractable approach to the firm location decision problem," NIMA Working Papers 2, Núcleo de Investigação em Microeconomia Aplicada (NIMA), Universidade do Minho.
  2. Keith Head & Thierry Mayer, 2004. "Market Potential and the Location of Japanese Investment in the European Union," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(4), pages 959-972, November.
  3. Sascha O. Becker & Karolina Ekholm & Robert Jäckle & Marc-Andreas Muendler, 2005. "Location Choice and Employment Decisions:A Comparison of German and Swedish Multinationals," Ifo Working Paper Series Ifo Working Paper No. 4, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
  4. Motta, Massimo & Thisse, Jacques-Francois, 1994. "Does environmental dumping lead to delocation?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(3-4), pages 563-576, April.
  5. Marc J. Melitz & Stephen J. Redding, 2012. "Heterogeneous Firms and Trade," CEP Discussion Papers dp1183, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  6. Keith Head & Thierry Mayer, 2005. "Regional Wage and Employment Responses to Market Potential in the EU," Bruges European Economic Research Papers 3, European Economic Studies Department, College of Europe.
  7. Kurt Schmidheiny & Marius Brülhart, 2009. "On the Equivalence of Location Choice Models: Conditional Logit, Nested Logit and Poisson," CESifo Working Paper Series 2726, CESifo Group Munich.
  8. Acemoglu, D., 1997. "Why Do New Technologies Complement Skills? Directed Technical Change and Wage Inequality," Working papers 97-14, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  9. Paul Krugman, 1990. "Increasing Returns and Economic Geography," NBER Working Papers 3275, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Stephen Redding & Daniel.M Sturm & Nikolaus Wolf, 2007. "History and industry location: evidence from German airports," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3680, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  11. Solar, Peter M & Lyons, John S, 2009. "The English cotton spinning industry, 1780–1840, as revealed in the columns of the London Gazette," MPRA Paper 15422, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  12. Timothy Leunig, 2003. "A British industrial success: productivity in the Lancashire and New England cotton spinning industries a century ago," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 56(1), pages 90-117, 02.
  13. Ros S, Joan R., 2003. "Why Isn't the Whole of Spain Industrialized? New Economic Geography and Early Industrialization, 1797 1910," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 63(04), pages 995-1022, December.
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