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Spatial Competition, Innovation and Institutions: The Industrial Revolution and the Great Divergence

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  • Klaus Desmet
  • Avner Greif
  • Stephen Parente

Abstract

A market-size-only theory of industrialization cannot explain why England developed nearly two centuries before China. One shortcoming of such a theory is its exclusive focus on producers. We show that once we incorporate the incentives of factor suppliers' organizations such as craft guilds, industrialization no longer depends on market size, but on spatial competition between the guilds' jurisdictions. We substantiate our theory (i) by providing historical and empirical evidence on the relation between spatial competition, craft guilds and innovation, and (ii) by showing the calibrated model correctly predicts the timings of the Industrial Revolution and the Great Divergence.

Suggested Citation

  • Klaus Desmet & Avner Greif & Stephen Parente, 2018. "Spatial Competition, Innovation and Institutions: The Industrial Revolution and the Great Divergence," NBER Working Papers 24727, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:24727
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    Cited by:

    1. Crafts, Nicholas & Mills, Terence C., 2020. "The Race between Population and Technology: Real Wages in the First Industrial Revolution," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 502, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • N10 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth

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