214/2014 Nicholas Crafts
This paper provides an introductory overview of the British Industrial Revolution. The dimensions of growth are discussed as well as notable recent explanations for Britain’s primacy. Obstacles to faster growth are considered as well as advantages that were conducive to stronger TFP growth. In this context, reasons for the long delay before steam power had any significant impact on productivity are highlighted. Some implications of Britain’s early start to modern economic growth for subsequent economic performance are noted. The paper concludes that precocious British industrialization is much easier to explain than the timing of the acceleration of technological progress.
Lagatum Institute: History of Capitalism Series