NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Railroads and the Rise of the Factory: Evidence for the United States, 1850-70

Jeremy Atack, Michael R. Haines, Robert A. Margo

NBER Working Paper No. 14410
Issued in October 2008
NBER Program(s):   DAE

Over the course of the nineteenth century manufacturing in the United States shifted from artisan shop to factory production. At the same time United States experienced a "transportation revolution", a key component of which was the building of extensive railroad network. Using a newly created data set of manufacturing establishments linked to county level data on rail access from 1850-70, we ask whether the coming of the railroad increased establishment size in manufacturing. Difference-in-difference and instrument variable estimates suggest that the railroad had a positive effect on factory status. In other words, Adam Smith was right -- the division of labor in nineteenth century American manufacturing was limited by the extent of the market.

download in pdf format
   (686 K)

email paper

This paper is available as PDF (686 K) or via email.

Acknowledgments

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w14410

Published: “Railroads and the Rise of the Factory: Evidence for the United States, 1850 - 1870,” (with Haines and Margo ) in P a ul Rhode, J oshua Rosenbloom, and D avid Weiman, ( eds. ) Economic Evolution and Revolutions in Historical Time . Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, (2011): 162 - 179 .

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Shen w12374 The Effects of HMO and Its For-Profit Expansion on the Survival of Specialized Hospital Services
Haines and Margo w12381 Railroads and Local Economic Development: The United States in the 1850s
Fraumeni w14736 The Contribution of Highways to GDP Growth
Atack, Bateman, Haines, and Margo w14640 Did Railroads Induce or Follow Economic Growth? Urbanization and Population Growth in the American Midwest, 1850-60
Lampe and Moser w15061 Do Patent Pools Encourage Innovation? Evidence from the 19th-Century Sewing Machine Industry
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us