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A British industrial success: productivity in the Lancashire and New England cotton spinning industries a century ago

Leunig, Tim (2003) A British industrial success: productivity in the Lancashire and New England cotton spinning industries a century ago. Economic History Review, 56 (1). pp. 90-117. ISSN 1468-0289

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Abstract

This paper uses new product-specific, micro-level US data to show that New England had lower levels of productivity in cotton spinning than Lancashire, c. 1900, contradicting results derived by Broadberry from the Censuses of Production. The discrepancy stems from the Censuses’ poor methods of aggregating heterogeneous yarn output. The finding that Britain – the labour-abundant country – has higher labour productivity contradicts the Rothbarth-Habakkuk model. We suggest Britain’s industrial success stems from more intensive competition, manifested through external economies of scale and longer production runs. We finish with some speculative implications for British performance in the first and second industrial revolutions.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/journals/EHR
Additional Information: © 2003 Blackwell Publishing
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
Sets: Departments > Economic History
Collections > Economists Online
Rights: http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/usingTheLibrary/academicSupport/OA/depositYourResearch.aspx
Date Deposited: 23 Jun 2006
URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/494/

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