NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Gregory Clark

Contact and additional information for this authorAll publicationsWorking Papers only

Working Papers

February 2014The Growing Dependence of Britain on Trade during the Industrial Revolution
with Kevin Hjortshøj O'Rourke, Alan M. Taylor: w19926
Many previous studies of the role of trade during the British Industrial Revolution have found little or no role for trade in explaining British living standards or growth rates. We construct a three-region model of the world in which Britain trades with North America and the rest of the world, and calibrate the model to data from the 1760s and 1850s. We find that while trade had only a small impact on British welfare in the 1760s, it had a very large impact in the 1850s. This contrast is robust to a large range of parameter perturbations. Biased technological change and population growth were key in explaining Britain’s growing dependence on trade during the Industrial Revolution.
June 2008Made in America? The New World, the Old, and the Industrial Revolution
with Kevin H. O'Rourke, Alan M. Taylor: w14077
For two decades, the consensus explanation of the British Industrial Revolution has placed technological change and the supply side at center stage, affording little or no role for demand or overseas trade. Recently, alternative explanations have placed an emphasis on the importance of trade with New World colonies, and the expanded supply of raw cotton it provided. We test both hypotheses using calibrated general equilibrium models of the British economy and the rest of the world for 1760 and 1850. Neither claim is supported. Trade was vital for the progress of the industrial revolution; but it was trade with the rest of the world, not the American colonies, that allowed Britain to export its rapidly expanding textile output and achieve growth through extreme specialization in response to...
November 2001Technology in the Great Divergence
with Robert Feenstra: w8596
In this paper, we examine the changes in per-capita income and productivity from 1700 to modern times, and show four things: (1) that incomes per capita diverged more around the world after 1800 than before; (2) that the source of this divergence was increasing differences in the efficiency of economies; (3) that these differences in efficiency were not due to problems of poor countries in getting access to the new technologies of the Industrial Revolution; (4) that the pattern of trade from the late nineteenth century between the poor and the rich economies suggests that the problem of the poor economies was peculiarly a problem of employing labor effectively. This continues to be true today.

Contact and additional information for this authorAll publicationsWorking Papers only

 
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