Why England? Demand, growth and inequality during the Industrial Revolution

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Journal of Economic Growth, 2006: 319-361
http://hdl.handle.net/10230/663
To cite or link this document: http://hdl.handle.net/10230/663
dc.contributor.author Voigtländer, Nico
dc.contributor.author Voth, Joachim
dc.contributor.other Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Departament d'Economia i Empresa
dc.date.issued 2005-05-01
dc.identifier.citation Journal of Economic Growth, 2006: 319-361
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10230/663
dc.description.abstract Why was England first? And why Europe? We present a probabilistic model that builds on big-push models by Murphy, Shleifer and Vishny (1989), combined with hierarchical preferences. The interaction of exogenous demographic factors (in particular the English low-pressure variant of the European marriage pattern)and redistributive institutions – such as the “old Poor Law” – combined to make an Industrial Revolution more likely. Essentially, industrialization is the result of having a critical mass of consumers that is “rich enough” to afford (potentially) mass-produced goods. Our model is then calibrated to match the main characteristics of the English economy in 1750 and the observed transition until 1850. This allows us to address explicitly one of the key features of the British Industrial Revolution unearthed by economic historians over the last three decades – the slowness of productivity and output change. In our calibration, we find that the probability of Britain industrializing is 5 times larger than France’s. Contrary to the recent argument by Pomeranz, China in the 18th century had essentially no chance to industrialize at all. This difference is decomposed into a demographic and a policy component, with the former being far more important than the latter.
dc.language.iso eng
dc.relation.ispartofseries Economics and Business Working Papers Series; 857
dc.rights L'accés als continguts d'aquest document queda condicionat a l'acceptació de les condicions d'ús establertes per la següent llicència Creative Commons
dc.rights.uri http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/es/
dc.title Why England? Demand, growth and inequality during the Industrial Revolution
dc.type info:eu-repo/semantics/workingPaper
dc.date.modified 2014-06-03T07:14:14Z
dc.subject.keyword Economic and Business History
dc.subject.keyword inequality
dc.subject.keyword industrial revolution
dc.subject.keyword growth
dc.subject.keyword big push
dc.subject.keyword redistribution
dc.subject.keyword steam
dc.subject.keyword general purpose technology
dc.rights.accessRights info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess


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