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Melting markets: the rise and decline of the Anglo-Norwegian ice trade, 1850-1920

Bodil Bjerkvik Blain

Economic History Working Papers from London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History

Abstract: By the late 19th century, the export of natural ice from Norway to Britain was a major trade, fuelled by the growing British consumption of ice. Although new technology eventually allowed the production of artificial ice, natural ice retained a strong market position until World War I. This dissertation investigates the rise and fall of the Anglo-Norwegian ice trade, including the reasons behind the Norwegian success (comparative advantage, proximity to Britain and long-standing trade relations with Britain) and the rapid and persistent growth of British consumption of ice (high urbanisation, and growth of food-processing industries). Furthermore, it seeks to explain the continued use of natural ice long after the introduction of artificial ice and mechanical refrigeration. Seasonal aspects and supply shocks were instrumental in promoting technological change, but the diffusion of the new technologies varied across industries, and was affected by economic and social factors.

JEL-codes: N0 L81 O52 B1 O52 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2006-02
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