Precocious Albion: A New Interpretation of the British Industrial Revolution
Joel Mokyr () and
Cormac Ó Gráda ()
Additional contact information
Joel Mokyr: Departments of Economics and History, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 60208
Annual Review of Economics, 2014, vol. 6, issue 1, 363-389
Many explanations have been offered for the British Industrial Revolution. This article points to the importance of human capital (broadly defined) and the quality of the British labor force on the eve of the Industrial Revolution. It shows that in terms of both physical quality and mechanical skills, British workers around 1750 were at a much higher level than their continental counterparts. As a result, new inventions—no matter where they originated—were adopted earlier, faster, and on a larger scale in Britain than elsewhere. The gap in labor quality is consistent with the higher wages paid in eighteenth-century Britain. The causes for the higher labor quality are explored and found to be associated with a higher level of nutrition and better institutions, especially England’s Poor Law and the superior functioning of its apprenticeship system.
Keywords: technological change; economic growth; income distribution; human capital; skills (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: N13 N33 O30 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
References: Add references at CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (14) Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
Full text downloads are only available to subscribers. Visit the abstract page for more information.
Working Paper: Precocious Albion: a new interpretation of the British industrial revolution (2013)
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:anr:reveco:v:6:y:2014:p:363-389
Ordering information: This journal article can be ordered from
Access Statistics for this article
More articles in Annual Review of Economics from Annual Reviews Annual Reviews 4139 El Camino Way Palo Alto, CA 94306, USA.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by http://www.annualreviews.org ().