Spatial takeoff in the first industrial revolution

Alex William Trew

    Research output: Working paper

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    Using the framework of Desmet and Rossi-Hansberg (forthcoming), we present a model of spatial takeoff that is calibrated using spatially-disaggregated occupational data for England in c.1710. The model predicts changes in the spatial distribution of agricultural and manufacturing employment which match data for c.1817 and 1861. The model also matches a number of aggregate changes that characterise the first industrial revolution. Using counterfactual geographical distributions, we show that the initial concentration of productivity can matter for whether and when an industrial takeoff occurs. Subsidies to innovation in either sector can bring forward the date of takeoff while subsidies to the use of land by manufacturing firms can significantly delay a takeoff because it decreases spatial concentration of activity.
    Original languageEnglish
    PublisherUniversity of St Andrews
    Number of pages44
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014

    Publication series

    NameSchool of Economics & Finance Discussion Paper
    PublisherUniversity of St Andrews
    ISSN (Print)0962-4031
    ISSN (Electronic)2055-303X


    • Endogenous growth
    • first industrial revolution
    • economic geography
    • structural change


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