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Temporary protection and technology adoption: evidence from the Napoleonic blockade

Juhász, Réka (2014) Temporary protection and technology adoption: evidence from the Napoleonic blockade. CEP discussion paper (CEPDP1322). Centre for Economic Performance (CEP), London, UK. ISBN 2042-2695

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Abstract

This paper uses a natural experiment to assess whether temporary protection from trade with industrial leaders can foster development of infant industries in follower countries. Using a new dataset compiled from primary sources, I find that in the short-run regions (départements) in the French Empire which became better protected from trade with the British for exogenous reasons during the Napoleonic Wars (1803-15) increased capacity in a new technology, mechanised cotton spinning, to a larger extent than regions which remained more exposed to trade. Temporary protection had long term effects. In particular, by exploiting the fact that the post-war location of the cotton industry was determined to a large extent by the historical accident of the wars, I first show that the location of cotton spinning within France was persistent, and firms located in regions with higher post-war spinning capacity were more productive 30 years later. Second, I find that after the restoration of peace, exports of cotton goods from France increased substantially, consistent with evolving comparative advantage in cottons. Third, I show that as late as 1850, France and Belgium - both part of the French Empire prior to 1815 - had larger cotton spinning industries than other Continental European countries which were not protected from British trade during the wars; this suggests that adoption of the new technology was far from inevitable.

Item Type: Monograph (Discussion Paper)
Official URL: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/
Additional Information: © 2014 The Author
Divisions: Centre for Economic Performance
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
JEL classification: F - International Economics > F1 - Trade > F14 - Country and Industry Studies of Trade
N - Economic History > N6 - Manufacturing and Construction > N63 - Europe: Pre-1913
O - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > O1 - Economic Development > O14 - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
Sets: Collections > Economists Online
Research centres and groups > Centre for Economic Performance (CEP)
Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2015 10:28
Last Modified: 29 Apr 2019 08:32
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/60697

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