Productivity Growth During the English Industrial Revolution: A Dual Approach

UPF Economics & Business Working Paper No. 495

35 Pages Posted: 18 Nov 2000

See all articles by Hans-Joachim Voth

Hans-Joachim Voth

University of Zurich - UBS International Center of Economics in Society; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Pol Antras

Harvard University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: October 2000

Abstract

This paper presents new estimates of total factor productivity growth in Britain for the period 1770-1860. We use a dual technique recently popularized by Hsieh (1999), and argue that the estimates we derive from factor prices are of similar quality to quantity-based calculations. Our results provide further evidence, derived from this independent set of sources, that productivity growth during the British Industrial Revolution was relatively slow. During the years 1770-1800, TFP growth was close to zero, according to our estimates. The period 1800-1830 experienced an acceleration of productivity growth. The Crafts-Harley view of the Industrial Revolution is thus reinforced. We also consider alternative explanations of slow productivity growth, and reject the interpretation that focuses on the introduction of steam as a general purpose technology.

Keywords: British Industrial Revolution, Productivity Growth, Dual Measurement Of Productivity, General Purpose Technology

JEL Classification: N13, O47, O52

Suggested Citation

Voth, Hans-Joachim and Antras, Pol, Productivity Growth During the English Industrial Revolution: A Dual Approach (October 2000). UPF Economics & Business Working Paper No. 495, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=246515 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.246515

Hans-Joachim Voth (Contact Author)

University of Zurich - UBS International Center of Economics in Society ( email )

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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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United Kingdom

Pol Antras

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

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