Just found this article debunking the myth of the traditional Irishness of Guiness, by an economic historian I really like, Cormac Ó Gráda (via MR).
Not only is it fun to read but it tends to confirm what I have been thinking for a while and hope some day to demonstrate, that beer caused the industrial revolution. Read the rest of this entry »
Some argue that national moneys have been constructed by states, but not before the 19th century. Prior, during the 18th century, there were no monetary borders to speak of and local markets were integrated by the ubiquitous bills of exchange; regulation remaining at a sub-national level (cities; p.1). Others have pointed out that the financial geography was not that seamless and that a shape arose from endogenous elements (transaction costs, agglomeration economies, etc.). Finally, institutionalist economists have argued that factors such as parliaments and constitutions were critical in the dawn of international finance (p.2). Read the rest of this entry »
Clingingsmith, David and Williamson, Jeffrey G. (2008) “Deindstrialization in 18th and 19th century India: Mughal decline, climate shocks and British industrial ascent”, Exploration in Economic History, 45/3, 209-234.
Between 1700 and 1900, India went from being an industrial powerhouse to forgotten backwater. Why didn’t India manage to retain its edge and how did Britain overtake the giant? Read the rest of this entry »
Daudin Guillaume (2008) “Domestic trade and market size in late eighteen-century France”, Oxford University: Discussion Papers in Economic and Social History, 32p.
The sheer size of the British market is rarely assumed to be a major explanation of the Industrial Revolution. Britons were less numerous than many other people on the continent but low transportation costs and higher density may have created a more integrated economy and thus a larger market. In this paper, the author uses the Tableaux du Maximum (statistics collected in 1794) to estimate whether France was significantly less integrated than England (p.2). Read the rest of this entry »
Carville Earle and Hoffman Ronald (Dec. 1980) “The Foundation of the Modern Economy: Agriculture and the Costs of Labor in the United States and England, 1800-60” The American Historical Review 85/5: 1055-1094.
Traditionally (so-called Habakkuk thesis), labour shortage is said to be the cause of the mechanization of the American agriculture in the early 19th century. The authors have compared the Northern grain-belt, the South slave-based and the English agriculture to check that claim. In the North (monoculture), extensive use of labour was only necessary for the harvest, which created an available and cheap workforce for the urban industries, and allowed savings to be invested in mechanized agriculture. In England (diversified agriculture) and in the South, the labour season took most of the year hence the wages were going up. In the English case it hindered the use of machinery in the agriculture and in the South the industrial take off all together. Read the rest of this entry »
Kim Sukkoo  “Division of labor and the rise of cities: evidence from US industrialization, 1850-1880”, Journal of Economic Geography, 6/3, 469-491.
“In the USA, the Industrial Revolution occurred in two distinct phases between the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries. Between 1820 and 1840, early industrialization began in New England as manufacturing re-organized from artisanal shops to non-mechanized factories in a relatively small number of industries such as textile, leather, and shoes. In the second phase of industrialisation, which occurred between 1850 and 1920, factory production rose in scale, became mechanized, and spread to numerous industries and to the North-eastern region known as the manufacturing belt” (p.469). Read the rest of this entry »
Eltis David and Engerman Stanley L. (2000) “The importance of slavery and the slave trade to industrializing Britain”, Journal of economic history, 60, 123-144.
How important was the American slave system to the British economy of the second half of the 18th century? According to those involved in slaving ventures there was “hardly any Branch of Commerce in which this Nation is concerned that does not derive some advantage from it” (123). But this opinion was only put forward by parties had interest in overestimating the economic significance of the slave system at a time abolition was advocated by many. Read the rest of this entry »