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And why not elsewhere? It is a popular question. A recent paper sheds additional light:

This paper sets out to test, with a formal computational general equilibrium (CGE) model, the role of trade with the New World, and trade itself, in explaining the growth of productivity and income in  Industrial Revolution Britain. We find, to our surprise, that the New World mattered little, even by the 1850s. Had the Americas not existed, the Industrial Revolution would still have looked much as it did in practice (my emphasis). There were ready substitutes for the cotton, sugar, corn, and timber of the New World in Eastern Europe, the Near East, and South Asia. However, had all trade barriers been substantial -if, say, a victorious France had cut off Britain’s access to overseas trade-then British history would have been very different. British incomes per person, instead of rising by 45 percent between the 1760s and 1850s, would have risen by a mere 5 percent. The total factor productivity (TFP) growth rate, already a modest 0.4 percent per year, would have fallen to 0.22 percent per year.

That was by Greg Clark, Kevin O’Rourke and Alan Taylor in the May 2008 American Economic Review.

One Response to “Why Did the Industrial Revolution Happen in England?”

  1. Very good post. I’ll definitely be back. Thanks again, Tyson

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