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Falling real wages during an industrial revolution

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Abstract

The Industrial Revolution was characterized by technological progress and an increasing capital intensity. Why did real wages stagnate or fall in the beginning? I answer this question by modeling the Industrial Revolution as the introduction of a relatively more capital intensive production method in a standard neoclassical framework. I show that {\sl real wages fall in the beginning of an industrial revolution if and only if technological progress in the relatively more capital intensive sector is relatively fast.}

Suggested Citation

  • Antonio Ciccone, 1996. "Falling real wages during an industrial revolution," Economics Working Papers 195, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  • Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:195
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    Cited by:

    1. Francesco Caselli, 1999. "Technological Revolutions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 78-102, March.
    2. Hans-Joachim Voth, 2003. "Living Standards During the Industrial Revolution: An Economist's Guide," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 221-226, May.
    3. Feldman, Naomi E. & van der Beek, Karine, 2016. "Skill choice and skill complementarity in eighteenth century England," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 94-113.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Industrial revolution; technological change; capital intensive; production; neoclassical growth model;

    JEL classification:

    • D5 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium
    • N1 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights

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