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Total factor productivity for the Royal Navy from victory at Texal (1653) to triumph at Trafalgar (1805)

O'Brien, Patrick and Duran, Xavier (2010) Total factor productivity for the Royal Navy from victory at Texal (1653) to triumph at Trafalgar (1805). Economic History Working Papers (134/10). Department of Economic History, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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The size and strength of the Royal Navy experienced a punctuated evolution into the largest and most powerful Navy in the world by 1815. Most historians tend to represent its superiority in conflicts at sea as an indication of several factors that would be conceptualized by economists as residuals in a production function, namely: better technologies, efficient seamanship, bravery in battle, the Nelson factor, strong logistical support on shore and latterly well designed systems of economic incentives. But are these factors anywhere near sufficient to explain the Royal Navy's relative prowess over rival fleets? This paper argues that the fiscal and financial institutions based upon a political consensus for a sustained uplift in state expenditures on the largest standing fleet of warships in Europe was created during an interregnum of Republican rule, carried forward by the Stuarts and exploited to reach its full potential between the Glorious Revolution (1688) and the Congress of Vienna (1815). The Royal Navy’s protection promoted development and consolidation of the realm’s extensive maritime sector that, in turn, sustained the largest fleet of battleships on call for defense and aggression in Europe and across the oceans of the world economy.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2010 Patrick O’Brien, Xavier Duran
Divisions: Economic History
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
Date Deposited: 11 May 2010 15:18
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 11:51

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