IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Engel`s Pause: A Pessimist`s Guide to the British Industrial Revolution

  • Robert Allen
  • Robert C. Allen

The paper reviews the macroeconomic data describing the British economy from 1760 to 1913 and shows that it passed through a two stage evolution of inequality. In the first half of the nineteenth century, the real wage stagnated while output per worker expanded. The profit rate doubled and the share of profits in national income expanded at the expense of labour and land. After the middle of the nineteenth century, real wages began to grow in line with productivity, and the profit rate and factor shares stabilized. An integrated model of growth and distribution is developed to explain these trends. The model includes an aggregate production function that explains the distribution of income, while a savings function in which savings depended on property income 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. After the middle of the nineteenth century, accumulation had caught up with the requirements of technology and wages rose in line with productivity.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/materials/working_papers/paper315.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number 315.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: 01 Apr 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:315
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Manor Rd. Building, Oxford, OX1 3UQ

Web page: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/
Email:


More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
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.:

as in new window
  1. John Komlos, . "On the Nature of the Malthusian Threat in the Eighteenth Century," Articles by John Komlos 6, Department of Economics, University of Munich.
  2. 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.
  3. Antràs Pol, 2004. "Is the U.S. Aggregate Production Function Cobb-Douglas? New Estimates of the Elasticity of Substitution," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-36, April.
  4. Humphries, Jane, 1990. "Enclosures, Common Rights, and Women: The Proletarianization of Families in the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 50(01), pages 17-42, March.
  5. Sara Horrell & Jane Humphries, 1995. "Women's labour force participation and the transition to the male-breadwinner family, 1790-1865," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 48(1), pages 89-117, 02.
  6. 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.
  7. John Komlos, . "The Secular Trend in the Biological Standard of Living in the United Kingdom, 1730-1860," Articles by John Komlos 19, Department of Economics, University of Munich.
  8. McAdam, Peter & Willman, Alpo, 2013. "Medium Run Redux," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 17(04), pages 695-727, June.
  9. 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.
  10. Paul Johnson & Stephen Nicholas, 1995. "Male and female living standards in England and Wales, 1812-1867: evidence from criminal height records," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 48(3), pages 470-481, 08.
  11. Berndt, Ernst R, 1976. "Reconciling Alternative Estimates of the Elasticity of Substitution," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 58(1), pages 59-68, February.
  12. 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.
  13. Nicholas Crafts, 2003. "Steam as a general purpose technology: a growth accounting perspective," Economic History Working Papers 22354, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
  14. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2004. "Das Human Kapital: A Theory of the Demise of the Class Structure," GE, Growth, Math methods 0410003, EconWPA.
  15. Daron Acemoglu, 2000. "Labor- and Capital- Augmenting Technical Change," NBER Working Papers 7544, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. Williamson,Jeffrey G., 1990. "Coping with City Growth during the British Industrial Revolution," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521364805, November.
  19. Neal, Larry, 1991. "A Tale of Two Revolutions: International Capital Flows 1789-1819," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(1), pages 57-92, January.
  20. Diewert, W. E., 1976. "Exact and superlative index numbers," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 115-145, May.
  21. 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.
  22. Voth, Hans-Joachim, 2001. "The Longest Years: New Estimates Of Labor Input In England, 1760 1830," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 61(04), pages 1065-1082, December.
  23. Mokyr, Joel, 1988. "Is There Still Life in the Pessimist Case? Consumption during the Industrial Revolution, 1790—1850," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 48(01), pages 69-92, March.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. Mokyr, Joel, 1987. "Has the industrial revolution been crowded out? Some reflections on Crafts and Williamson," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 293-319, July.
  27. Williamson, Jeffrey G., 1984. "Why Was British Growth So Slow During the Industrial Revolution?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 44(03), pages 687-712, September.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. Robert M. Solow, 1956. "A Contribution to the Theory of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(1), pages 65-94.
  31. 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.
  32. Nicholas, Stephen & Steckel, Richard H., 1991. "Heights and Living Standards of English Workers During the Early Years of Industrializations, 1770–1815," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 51(04), pages 937-957, December.
  33. Allen, Robert C., 2000. "Economic structure and agricultural productivity in Europe, 1300 1800," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 4(01), pages 1-25, April.
  34. N. F. R. Crafts, 1976. "English Economic Growth in the Eighteenth Century: A Re-Examination of Deane and Cole's Estimates," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 29(2), pages 226-235, 05.
  35. Maxine Berg & Pat Hudson, 1992. "Rehabilitating the industrial revolution," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 45(1), pages 24-50, 02.
  36. Simon Szreter & Graham Mooney, 1998. "Urbanization, Mortality, and the Standard of Living Debate: New Estimates of the Expectation of Life at Birth in Nineteenth-century British Cities," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 51(1), pages 84-112, 02.
  37. Stephen Nicholas & Deborah Oxley, 1993. "The living standards of women during the industrial revolution, 1795-1820," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 46(4), pages 723-749, November.
  38. Robert C. Allen, 1999. "Tracking the agricultural revolution in England," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 52(2), pages 209-235, 05.
  39. 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.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:315. 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 you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.