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The Role of Technology and Institutions for Growth: Danish Creameries in the late Nineteenth Century


  • Ingrid Henriksen

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

  • Markus Lampe

    (Carlos III University, Madrid)

  • Paul Sharp

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)


We consider the relative contributions of changing technology and institutions for economic growth through the investigation of a natural experiment in history: the almost simultaneous introduction of the automatic cream separator and the cooperative ownership form in the Danish dairy industry from around 1880. Using a new database of statistics from creameries and the tool of stochastic frontier analysis, we find that both institutions and technology were important for the success of the Danish dairy industry and, by implication, the growth and early development of the Danish economy.

Suggested Citation

  • Ingrid Henriksen & Markus Lampe & Paul Sharp, 2010. "The Role of Technology and Institutions for Growth: Danish Creameries in the late Nineteenth Century," Discussion Papers 10-32, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:kud:kuiedp:1032

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Clark, Gregory, 1994. "Factory Discipline," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 54(01), pages 128-163, March.
    2. Henriksen, Ingrid & Hviid, Morten, 2005. "Diffusion of new technology and complementary best practice: A case study," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(03), pages 365-397, December.
    3. Bailey, DeeVon & Biswas, Basudeb & Kumbhakar, Subal C. & Schulthies, B. Kris, 1989. "An Analysis Of Technical, Allocative, And Scale Inefficiency: The Case Of Ecuadorian Dairy Farms," Western Journal of Agricultural Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 14(01), July.
    4. KevinH. O'Rourke, 2007. "Culture, Conflict and Cooperation: Irish Dairying Before the Great War," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(523), pages 1357-1379, October.
    5. Alvarez, Antonio & Arias, Carlos, 2004. "Technical efficiency and farm size: a conditional analysis," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 30(3), pages 241-250, May.
    6. Williamson, Oliver E., 1980. "The organization of work a comparative institutional assessment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 5-38, March.
    7. Hallam, David & Machado, Fernando, 1996. "Efficiency Analysis with Panel Data: A Study of Portuguese Dairy Farms," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 23(1), pages 79-93.
    8. Fan, Yanqin & Li, Qi & Weersink, Alfons, 1996. "Semiparametric Estimation of Stochastic Production Frontier Models," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 14(4), pages 460-468, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ingrid Henriksen & Eoin McLaughlin & Paul Sharp, 2015. "Contracts and cooperation: the relative failure of the Irish dairy industry in the late nineteenth century reconsidered," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(4), pages 412-431.
    2. Markus Lampe & Paul Sharp, 2015. "Just add milk: a productivity analysis of the revolutionary changes in nineteenth-century Danish dairying," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 68(4), pages 1132-1153, November.
    3. Markus Lampe & Paul Sharp, 2014. "Greasing the wheels of rural transformation? Margarine and the competition for the British butter market," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 67(3), pages 769-792, August.
    4. Vincent Bignon & Cecilia Garcia-Peñalosa, 2016. "Protectionism and the Education-Fertility Trade-off in Late 19th Century France," AMSE Working Papers 1604, Aix-Marseille School of Economics, Marseille, France, revised Jan 2016.
    5. Peter Sandholt Jensen & Markus Lampe & Paul Sharp & Christian Volmar Skovsgaard, 2018. "‘Getting to Denmark’: the Role of Elites for Development," Working Papers 0125, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    6. Ekaterina Khaustova & Paul Sharp, 2015. "A Note on Danish Living Standards through Historical Wage Series, 1731-1913," Working Papers 0081, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    7. Sofia Teives Henriques & Paul Sharp, 2016. "The Danish agricultural revolution in an energy perspective: a case of development with few domestic energy sources," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 69(3), pages 844-869, August.
    8. Eva Fernández, 2014. "Trust, religion, and cooperation in western agriculture, 1880–1930," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 67(3), pages 678-698, August.
    9. Eoin McLaughlin & Paul Sharp, 2015. "Competition between organisational forms in Danish and Irish dairying around the turn of the twentieth century," Discussion Papers in Environment and Development Economics 2015-16, University of St. Andrews, School of Geography and Sustainable Development.

    More about this item


    creameries; dairies; Denmark; development; economic growth; institutions; technology; stochastic frontier analysis;

    JEL classification:

    • L2 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior
    • N5 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries
    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights
    • Q1 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture

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