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Machinery and horsepower prices, 1850-1913

Ducoing, Cristian LU (2017) Lund Economic History Seminar
Abstract
The debate on the industrial revolution (IR) has been focused on the incentives behind investment decisions and how the preliminary conditions for it appeared in England / Great Britain. One of the most famous theories to explain the IR is the one developed by Allen (2012, 2009b,a), who argues that the IR was British due to a unique combination of expensive labour and cheap energy, producing incentives to invest in labour-saving machinery. His theory takes into account a vast literature on organic fuels and the transition to fossil fuels (WRIGLEY, 1962; Wrigley, 2013).Several works have proved the existence of cheap fossil fuels during the 19th century, determined by the introduction of coal. Even though the figures on wages and energy are... (More)
The debate on the industrial revolution (IR) has been focused on the incentives behind investment decisions and how the preliminary conditions for it appeared in England / Great Britain. One of the most famous theories to explain the IR is the one developed by Allen (2012, 2009b,a), who argues that the IR was British due to a unique combination of expensive labour and cheap energy, producing incentives to invest in labour-saving machinery. His theory takes into account a vast literature on organic fuels and the transition to fossil fuels (WRIGLEY, 1962; Wrigley, 2013).Several works have proved the existence of cheap fossil fuels during the 19th century, determined by the introduction of coal. Even though the figures on wages and energy are broadly accepted, machinery price indices are challenged. The most widely used index is based almost completely on the price of iron (Feinstein, 1972, 1988). To prove Allen’s hypothesis we require a better index of machinery prices, measuring horsepower prices, relative costs and international changes in their trade. This article presents such a series, using novel data from merchants’ catalogues, international trade statistics plus all the price indices previously available. The new series corresponds to the UK in the period 1850 - 1913; given the influence of British Machinery & Equipment in the world market until 1913, this price index could be useful to understand the transformation of relative costs in several regions.JEL Codes: N13, N63, N70, O13, O14, O33. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to conference
publication status
published
subject
keywords
machinery prices, machinery investment, industrial revolution, technological change
pages
12 pages
conference name
Lund Economic History Seminar
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
ef62d848-d826-47eb-8ad8-032bc3053dd4
alternative location
https://www.ekh.lu.se/media/ekh/seminarie-paper/paper189-duconing.pdf
date added to LUP
2017-11-07 09:58:48
date last changed
2017-11-07 10:36:33
@misc{ef62d848-d826-47eb-8ad8-032bc3053dd4,
  abstract     = {The debate on the industrial revolution (IR) has been focused on the incentives behind investment decisions and how the preliminary conditions for it appeared in England / Great Britain. One of the most famous theories to explain the IR is the one developed by Allen (2012, 2009b,a), who argues that the IR was British due to a unique combination of expensive labour and cheap energy, producing incentives to invest in labour-saving machinery. His theory takes into account a vast literature on organic fuels and the transition to fossil fuels (WRIGLEY, 1962; Wrigley, 2013).Several works have proved the existence of cheap fossil fuels during the 19th century, determined by the introduction of coal. Even though the figures on wages and energy are broadly accepted, machinery price indices are challenged. The most widely used index is based almost completely on the price of iron (Feinstein, 1972, 1988). To prove Allen’s hypothesis we require a better index of machinery prices, measuring horsepower prices, relative costs and international changes in their trade. This article presents such a series, using novel data from merchants’ catalogues, international trade statistics plus all the price indices previously available. The new series corresponds to the UK in the period 1850 - 1913; given the influence of British Machinery & Equipment in the world market until 1913, this price index could be useful to understand the transformation of relative costs in several regions.JEL Codes: N13, N63, N70, O13, O14, O33.},
  author       = {Ducoing, Cristian},
  keyword      = {machinery prices,machinery investment,industrial revolution,technological change},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {05},
  pages        = {12},
  title        = {Machinery and horsepower prices, 1850-1913},
  year         = {2017},
}