Capital Accumulation, Technological Change, and the Distribution of Income during the British Industrial Revolution
The paper reviews the macroeconomic data describing the British economy during the industrial revolution and shows that they contain a story of dramatically increasing inequality between 1800 and 1840: GDP per worker rose 37%, real wages stagnated, and the profit rate doubled. The share of profits in national income expanded at the expense of labour and land. A Cambridge-Cambridge model of economic growth and income distribution is developed to explain these trends. An aggregate production function explains the distribution of income (as in Cambridge, MA), while a savings function in which savings depended on property income (as in Cambridge, England) governs accumulation. Simulations with the model show that technical progress was the prime mover behind the industrial revolution. Capital accumulation was a necessary complement. The surge in inequality was intrinsic to the growth process. Technical change increased the demand for capital and raised the profit rate and capital`s share. The rise in profits, in turn, sustained the industrial revolution by financing the necessary capital accumulation.
|Date of creation:||01 Jun 2005|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Manor Rd. Building, Oxford, OX1 3UQ|
Web page: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Horrell, Sara & Humphries, Jane, 1992. "Old Questions, New Data, and Alternative Perspectives: Families' Living Standards in the Industrial Revolution," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 52(04), pages 849-880, December.
- Nicholas Crafts, 2002.
"Productivity growth in the Industrial Revolution: a new growth accounting perspective,"
Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov.
- Crafts, Nicholas, 2004. "Productivity Growth in the Industrial Revolution: A New Growth Accounting Perspective," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 64(02), pages 521-535, June.
- Harley, C. Knick, 1982. "British Industrialization Before 1841: Evidence of Slower Growth During the Industrial Revolution," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 42(02), pages 267-289, June.
- Crafts, N. F. R., 1987. "British economic growth, 1700-1850; some difficulties of interpretation," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 245-268, July.
- N. F. R. Crafts, 1983. "British Economic Growth, 1700-1831: A Review of the Evidence," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 36(2), pages 177-199, 05.
- Peter H. Lindert, .
"Three Centuries Of Inequality In Britain And America,"
Department of Economics
97-09, California Davis - Department of Economics.
- Lindert, Peter H., 2000. "Three centuries of inequality in Britain and America," Handbook of Income Distribution, in: A.B. Atkinson & F. Bourguignon (ed.), Handbook of Income Distribution, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 3, pages 167-216 Elsevier.
- Heim, Carol E. & Mirowski, Philip, 1991. "Crowding out: A Response to Black and Gilmore," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 51(03), pages 701-706, September.
- Diewert, W. E., 1976. "Exact and superlative index numbers," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 115-145, May.
- Horrell, Sara, 1996. "Home Demand and British Industrialization," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 56(03), pages 561-604, September.
- Nicholas Crafts & Tony Venables, 2002.
"Globalization in history: a geographical perspective,"
LSE Research Online Documents on Economics
2135, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
- Nicholas Crafts & Anthony Venables, 2003. "Globalization in History.A Geographical Perspective," NBER Chapters, in: Globalization in Historical Perspective, pages 323-370 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Nicholas Crafts & Anthony J. Venables, 2002. "Globalization in History: A Geographical Perspective," CEP Discussion Papers dp0524, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
- Crafts, Nicholas & Venables, Anthony J, 2001. "Globalization in History: A Geographical Perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers 3079, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Nicholas Crafts & C. Knick Harley, 2002.
"Precocious British industrialization: a general equilibrium perspective,"
Economic History Working Papers
22368, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
- N. F. R. Crafts & C. Knick Harley, 2002. "Precocious British Industrialization: A General Equilibrium Perspective," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 200213, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
- R. V. Jackson, 1987. "The structure of pay in nineteenth-century Britain," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 40(4), pages 561-570, November.
- Buchinsky, Moshe & Polak, Ben, 1993. "The Emergence of a National Capital Market in England, 1710–1880," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 53(01), pages 1-24, March.
- Feinstein, Charles H., 1998. "Pessimism Perpetuated: Real Wages and the Standard of Living in Britain during and after the Industrial Revolution," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 58(03), pages 625-658, September.
- Allen, Robert C., 2001. "The Great Divergence in European Wages and Prices from the Middle Ages to the First World War," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 411-447, October.
- Crafts, N. F. R., 1985. "English Workers' Real Wages During the Industrial Revolution: Some Remaining Problems," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 45(01), pages 139-144, March.
- Maxine Berg & Pat Hudson, 1992. "Rehabilitating the industrial revolution," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 45(1), pages 24-50, 02.
- N. F. R. Crafts & C. K. Harley, 1992. "Output growth and the British industrial revolution: a restatement of the Crafts-Harley view," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 45(4), pages 703-730, November.
- A. B. Atkinson, 2005. "Top incomes in the UK over the 20th century," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 168(2), pages 325-343.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:239. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Monica Birds)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.