Accounting for the great divergence

Stephen Broadberry, 16 November 2013



As a result of recent work, economic historians have produced historical national accounts reaching back to the early years of the second millennium (derived from data collected at the time). For the major European economies, at least, data are now available on an annual basis back to 1300.

Topics: Economic history
Tags: asymmetric shocks, Black Death, Great Divergence, Industrial Revolution, trade routes

Competing successfully in a globalising world: Lessons from Lancashire

Nicholas Crafts, Nikolaus Wolf, 22 October 2013



The ‘first globalisation’ of the 19th century – driven by the substantial falls in trade costs associated with the age of steam – saw the ‘First Unbundling’ (Baldwin 2006), in which industrial production and consumption became spatially separated, often by large distances.

Topics: Economic history, International trade
Tags: agglomeration, cities, cotton, globalisation, Industrial Revolution, industrialisation, Lancashire, trade, wages

The age of equality

Richard Pomfret, 22 May 2012



Economic reporting in the media frequently appears superficial since important economic processes may take decades for their consequences to work through, whereas media typically need fresh daily or weekly news. Economic history provides an antidote to this rush-to-judgement (e.g. Findlay and O’Rourke 2008, Eichengreen and Irwin 2009).

Topics: Politics and economics
Tags: capitalism, Industrial Revolution, socialism

Opening Pandora’s box: A new look at the industrial revolution

Tony Wrigley, 22 July 2011



The most fundamental defining feature of the industrial revolution was that it made possible exponential economic growth – growth at a speed that implied the doubling of output every half-century or less. This in turn radically transformed living standards. Each generation came to have a confident expectation that they would be substantially better off than their parents or grandparents.

Topics: Development, Energy, Environment, Frontiers of economic research
Tags: economic history, England, fossil fuels, Industrial Revolution, Ricardo, Smith

Is education policy innovation policy?

Ralf R Meisenzahl, Joel Mokyr, 13 June 2011



The Industrial Revolution is widely regarded as the start of modern economic growth. In his recent influential work, Allen (2009a, 2009b) has resurrected induced innovation theory and re-emphasised the role of factor prices.

Topics: Development, Economic history, Poverty and income inequality
Tags: education, growth, Industrial Revolution

Before the Great Divergence: The modernity of China at the onset of the industrial revolution

Jan Luiten van Zanden, 26 January 2011



One of the big debates in economics is about the causes of the arguably most dramatic change in development trajectory in (recent) world history, the industrial revolution. 

Topics: Productivity and Innovation
Tags: China, economic history, Industrial Revolution, productivity, UK

Being the educational world leader helped Prussia catch up in the Industrial Revolution

Ludger Woessmann, Sascha O Becker, Erik Hornung, 9 May 2010



The Industrial Revolution was British, which is why British evidence sets the received wisdom on the Industrial Revolution. Consequently, the received wisdom in the literature is that – contrary to economic growth in the 20th century – formal education had no role in economic development during the Industrial Revolution (Mitch 1993 and Mokyr 1990).

Topics: Development, Economic history, Education
Tags: education, Industrial Revolution, Prussia

The enlightened economy: how ideas drive growth

Joel Mokyr interviewed by Romesh Vaitilingam, 5 Feb 2010

Joel Mokyr of Northwestern University talks to Romesh Vaitilingam about his book, The Enlightened Economy, which argues that we cannot understand the Industrial Revolution without recognising the importance of the intellectual sea changes of Britain’s Age of Enlightenment. They discuss the importance of cultural beliefs for the pursuit of economic growth in today’s developing countries. The interview was recorded in San Francisco in January 2009.


Unfortunately the file could not be found.

Open in a pop-up window Open in a pop-up window


Download MP3 File (10.8MB)



See Also

Related research here and here.


View Transcript

Topics: Development, Economic history, Institutions and economics, Productivity and Innovation
Tags: age of enlightenment, economic growth, Industrial Revolution

Why was the Industrial Revolution British?

Robert C. Allen, 15 May 2009



Why did the Industrial Revolution take place in eighteenth century Britain and not elsewhere in Europe or Asia? Answers to this question have ranged from religion and culture to politics and constitutions. In a just published book, The British Industrial Revolution in Global Perspective, I argue that the explanation of the Industrial Revolution was fundamentally economic.

Topics: Development, Economic history
Tags: Industrial Revolution, technology

Child labour: lessons from the Industrial Revolution

Jane Humphries, 24 April 2008



Societies have long sought to eliminate child labour.

Topics: Development, Economic history, Labour markets
Tags: child labour, family economics, Industrial Revolution

Vox eBooks