Skip to main content
×
×
Home

The Industrial Revolution in Miniature: The Spinning Jenny in Britain, France, and India

  • Robert C. Allen (a1)
Abstract

The spinning jenny helps explain why the Industrial Revolution occurred in Britain rather than in France or India. Wages were exceptionally high relative to capital prices in Britain, so the jenny was profitable to use in Britain but not elsewhere. Since it was only profitable to use the jenny in Britain, that was the only country where it as worth incurring the costs of developing it. Irrespective of the quality of their institutions or the progressiveness of their cultures, neither the French nor the Indians would have found it profitable to mechanize cotton production in the eighteenth century.

Copyright
References
Hide All
Acemoglu Daron.“Directed Technical Change.” Review of Economic Studies 69 no. 4 (2002) 781–809.
Acemoglu Daron.“Factor Prices and Technical Change: From Induced Innovations to Recent Debates.” In Knowledge, Information, and Expectations in Modern Macroeconomics: In Honor of Edmund Phelps. edited by Philippe Aghion et al., Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press 2003.
Acemoglu Daron.“Equilibrium Bias of Technology.” Econometrica 75 no. 5 (2007) 1371–1409.
Acemoglu DaronSimon Johnson and James Robinson“The Rise of Europe: Atlantic Trade, Institutional Change, and Economic Growth.” American Economic Review 95 no. 3 (2005) 546–79.
Allen Robert C.“Collective Invention.” Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 4 no. 1 (1983) 1–24.
Allen Robert C.“The Great Divergence in European Wages and Prices from the Middle Ages to the First World War.” Explorations in Economic History 38 no. 4 (2001) 411–47.
Allen Robert C.“India in the Great Divergence.” In The New Comparative Economic History: Essays in Honor of Jeffery G. Williamson, edited by Timothy J. HattonKevin H. O'Rourke and Alan M. Taylor9–32Cambridge, MA: MIT Press 2007a.
Allen Robert C.“Engel's Pause: A Pessimist's Guide to the British Industrial Revolution.” Working Paper No. 315, Oxford University, Department of Economics, 2007b.
Allen Robert C.“The Industrial Revolution in Miniature: The Spinning Jenny in Britain, France, and India.” Working Paper No. 375, Oxford University, Department of Economics, 2007c.
Allen Robert C.The British Industrial Revolution in Global Perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2009
Ashton T. S.An Economic History of England: The Eighteenth Century. London: Methuen 1955.
Aspin C. and Chapman S. D.James Hargreaves and the Spinning Jenny. Preston: Helmshore Local History Society 1964
Aström Sven-Erik“Swedish Iron and the English Iron Industry About 1700: Some Neglected Aspects.” Scandinavian Economic History Review 30 no. 2 (1982) 129–41.
Atkinson Anthony B. and Joseph E. Stiglitz“A New View of Technological Change.” Economic Journal 79 no. 315 (1969) 573–78.
Baines Edward.History of the Cotton Manufacture in Great Britain. London: H. Fisher, R. Fisher, and P. Jackson 1835.
Batchelor T.General View of the Agriculture of the County of Bedfordshire. London: R. Phillips 1808.
Bentley Thomas.Letters on the Utility and Policy of Employing Machines to Shorten Labour. London: T. Becket 1780.
Beveridge Lord.Prices and Wages in England from the Twelfth to the Nineteenth Century. London: Frank Cass & Co., Ltd., 1965 [1939]. Reprint.
Bhalla A. S.“Investment Allocation and Technological Choice: A Case of Cotton Spinning Techniques.” Economic Journal 74 no. 295 (1964) 611–22.
Broadberry Stephen and Bishnupriya Gupta“The Early Modern Great Divergence: Wages, Prices, and Economic Development in Europe and Asia, 1500-1800.” Economic History Review 59, no. 1(2006a): 2–31.
Broadberry Stephen and Bishnupriya Gupta“Wages, Induced Innovation, and the Great Divergence: Lancashire, India, and Shifting Competitive Advantage in Cotton Textiles, 1700-1850.” Revised version of CEPR Discussion Paper No. 5183, 2006b.
Boyle Robert.Some Considerations Touching the Usefulness of Experimental Natural Philosophy. Oxford: Hendry Hall, printer to the University 1671.
Chapman S. D. and John Butt“The Cotton Industry, 1775-1856.” In Studies in Capital Formation in the United Kingdom, 1750-1920, edited by Charles H. Feinstein and Sidney Pollard105–25Oxford: Clarendon Press 1988.
Chassagne Serge.Le coton et ses patrons: France, 1780-1840. Paris: Édition de d'École des hautes études en sciences socials 1991.
Chaudhury Sushil.From Prosperity to Decline: Eighteenth-Century Bengal. New Delhi: Manohar Publishers & Distributors, 1999.
Clark Greg.“The Political Foundations of Modern Economic Growth: England, 1540-1800.” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 26 no. 4 (1996) 563–87.
Clark Greg.A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press 2007
Crafts N. F. R.“Industrial Revolution in England and France: Some Thoughts on the Question: ‘Why was England First?'” Economic History Review 30 no. 3 (1977) 429–41.
Crafts N. F. R. and Harley C. K.“Simulating the Two Views of the Industrial Revolution.” This JOURNAL 60 no. 3 (2000) 819–41.
Crafts N. F. R. and Venables A. J.“Globalization in History: A Geographical Perspective.” In Globalization in Historical Perspective, edited by Michael BordoAlan M. Taylor and Jeffrey G. Williamson323–64Chicago: University of Chicago Press 2003
Crouzet FrançoisDe la superiorité de l'Angleterre sur la France. Paris: Librairie Académique Perrin 1985
David Paul.Technical Choice, Innovation, and Economic Growth: Essay on American and British Experience in the Nineteenth Century. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1975
De Long J. Bradford and Andrei Schleifer“Princes and Merchants: European City Growth Before the Industrial Revolution.” Journal of Law and Economics 36 no. 2 (1993) 671–702.
Divekar V. D.Prices and Wages in Pune Region, 1805-1830. Pune: Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics 1989.
Doyon AndréJacques Vaucanson: Mécanicien de genie. Paris: Presses Universitaires 1966
Dyer John.The Fleece: A Poem. London: R. & J. Dodsley 1757.
Eden Sir Frederick MortonThe State of the Poor. London: J. Davis 1797.
Epstein S. R.Freedom and Growth: The Rise of States and Markets in Europe, 1300-1750. London: Routledge 2000.
Fremdling Rainer.“Transfer Patterns of British Technology to the Continent: The Case of the Iron Industry.” European Review of Economic History 4 no. 2 (2000) 195–222.
Fremdling Rainer.“Continental Responses to British Innovations in the Iron Industry During the Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries.” In Exceptionalism and Industrialisation: Britain and Its European Rivals, 1688-1815, edited by Leandro Prados de la Escosura145–69Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2004.
Gayer A. D.Rostow W. W. and Schwartz A. J.. The Growth and Fluctuation of the British Economy, 1790-1850. Oxford: Clarendon Press 1953
Gilboy Elizabeth W.Wages in Eighteenth-Century England. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press 1934
Griffith TrevorPhilip A. Hunt and Patrick K. O'Brien“Inventive Activity in the British Textile Industry, 1700-1800.” This JOURNAL 52 no. 3 (1992) 881–906.
Habakkuk H. J.American and British Technology in the Nineteenth Century. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1962
Hahn F. H., and Matthews F. C. O.. “The Theory of Economic Growth: A Survey.” The Economic Journal 74 no. 296 (1964) 779–902.
Hanauer A.Études économiques sur l'Alsace, ancienne et modern. Strasbourg: Hagemann Librairie 1878.
Harley C. Knick.“The Shift from Sailing Ships to Steam Ships, 1850-1890: A Study in Technological Change and Its Diffusion.” In Essays on a Mature Economy: Britain After 1840, edited by D. N. McCloskey215–34Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press 1971.
Harley C. Knick.“Cotton Textiles and the Industrial Revolution: Competing Models and Evidence of Prices and Profits.” Unpublished Manuscript, 2006.
Harris J. R.“Saint-Gobain and Ravenhead.” In Great Britain and Her World, 1750-1914: Essay in Honour of W. O. Henderson, edited by Barrie M. Ratcliffe27–70Manchester: Manchester University Press 1975.
Hartwell R. M.The Causes of the Industrial Revolution. London: Methuen & Co. 1967.
Henson Gravenor.The Civil, Political, and Mechanical History of the Framework-Knitters in Europe and America, edited by Stanley D. Chapman Newton Abbot: David & Charles, 1970 [1831]. Reprint.
Hicks J. R.The Theory of Wages. London: Macmillan 1932.
Hills Richard L.Power in the Industrial Revolution. Manchester: Manchester University Press 1970
Hills Richard L.Power from Steam: A History of the Stationary Steam Engine. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1989
Hoffman Philip T. and Kathryn NorbergFiscal Crises, Liberty, and Representative Government, 1450-1789. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press 1994
Hoffman Philip T., Gilles Postel-Vinay and Rosenthal Jean-LaurentPriceless Markets: The Political Economy of Credit in Paris, 1660-1870. Chicago: University of Chicago Press 2000
Homer Sidney.A History of Interest Rates. Second edition. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press 1977
Hoppit Julian.“Patterns of Parliamentary Legislation, 1660-1800.” The Historical Journal 39 no. 1 (1996) 109–31.
Hoppit J.Innes J. and Styles J.“Towards a History of Parliamentary Legislation, 1660-1800.” Parliamentary History 13, Pt. 3 (1994): 312–21.
Hyde Charles K.Technological Change and the British Iron Industry. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press 1977
Inikori Joseph E.Africans and the Industrial Revolution in England: A Study in International Trade and Economic Development. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2002
Innes Joanne.“Politics, Property, and the Middle Class.” Parliamentary History XI, Pt. 2 (1992): 286–92.
Innes Joanne.“The Local Acts of a National Parliament: Parliament's Role in Sanctioning Local Action in Eighteenth Century Britain.” In Parliament and Locality, edited by Dean D. and Jones C.23–47Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press 1998.
Jacob Margaret C.The Cultural Meaning of the Scientific Revolution. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press 1988.
Jacob Margaret C.Scientific Culture and the Making of the Industrial West. New York: Oxford University Press 1997
Kerridge Eric.Textile Manufactures in Early Modern England. Manchester: Manchester University Press 1985
Khan Zorina.The Democratization of Invention: Patents and Copyrights in American Economic Development: 1790-1920. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2005
Khan Zorina and Ken Sokoloff“Of Patents and Prizes: Great Inventors and the Evolution of Useful Knowledge in Britain and America, 1750-1930.” Presented to the American Economic Association, 2006.
Landes David S.The Unbound Prometheus: Technological Change and Industrial Development in Western Europe from 1750 to the Present. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1969
LaPorta R.Lopez-de-Silanes F.Schleifer A. and Vishny R. W.“Law and Finance.” Journal of Political Economy 106 no. 6 (1998) 1113–55.
MacLeod Christine.Inventing the Industrial Revolution: The English Patent System, 1660-1800. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1988
Marglin Stephen.“What Do Bosses Do?” In The Division of Labour: The Labour Process and the Class Struggle in Modern Capitalism, edited by André Gorz13–54Brighton: The Harvester Press 1976.
Mathias P. and O'Brien P. K.“Taxation in England and France, 1715-1810.” Journal of European Economic History 5 no. 3 (1976) 601–50.
Mathias P. and O'Brien P. K.“The Incidence of Taxes and the Burden of Proof.” Journal of European Economic History 7 no. 1 (1978) 211–13.
Mokyr Joel ed. “Editor's Introduction: The New Economic History and the Industrial Revolution.” In The British Industrial Revolution: An Economic Perspective 1–127 Boulder, CO: Westview Press 1999
Mokyr Joel ed. The Gifts of Athena: Historical Origins of the Knowledge Economy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press 2002
Morris Morris D.“The Growth of Large-Scale Industry to 1947.” In The Cambridge Economic History of India, Volume 2: c. 1757-c. 1970, edited by Dharma Kumar553–676Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1983.
Muldrew Craig.“The ‘Ancient Distaff and Whirling Spindle:’ Measuring the Contribution of Spinning to Household Earnings and the National Economy in England, 1550-1770.” Paper presented at the Economic History Society Conference, Exeter, 2007.
Needham Joseph.Science and Civilisation in China, Vol. I, Introductory Orientations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1954
North D. C. and Weingast B. R.“Constitutions and Commitment: Evolution of Institutions Governing Public Choice in Seventeenth-Century England.” This JOURNAL 49 no. 4 (1989) 803–32.
Pinchbeck Ivy.Women Workers and the Industrial Revolution, 1750-1850. London: George Routledge & Sons, Ltd. 1930.
Pomeranz K.The Great Divergence: China, Europe, and the Making of the Modern World. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press 2000
Quinn Stephen.“The Glorious Revolution's Effect on English Private Finance: A Microhistory, 1680-1705.” This JOURNAL 61 no. 3 (2001) 593–615.
Raychaudhuri Tapan.“Mughal India.” In The Cambridge Economic History of India, Vol. I: c. 1200-c. 1750, edited by Tapan Raychaudhuri and Irfan Habib261–307Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1982.
Rogers J. E. T.A History of Agriculture and Prices in England. 7 volumes. Oxford: Clarendon Press 1866-1892.
Rosenthal J.-L.“The Development of Irrigation in Provence.” This JOURNAL 50 no. 3 (1990) 615–38.
Ruttan Vernon W.Technology, Growth, and Development: An Induced Innovation Perspective. Oxford: Oxford University Press 2001
Ruttan Vernon W. and Colin G. ThirtleThe Role of Supply and Demand in the Generation and Diffusion of Technical Change. New York: Harwood Academic Publications 1987.
Salter W. E. G.Productivity and Technical Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1960
Sen A.Choice of Techniques: An Aspect of the Theory of Planned Economic Development. Oxford: Basil Blackwell 1968.
Smith A.An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, edited by Cannan E.New York: The Modern Library 1937 [1776]. Reprint.
Temin Peter.“Notes on Labor Scarcity in America.” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 1 no. 2 (1971) 251–64.
Temin Peter.“Two Views of the British Industrial Revolution.” This JOURNAL 57 no. 1 (1997) 63–82.
Temin Peter.“A Response to Harley and Crafts.” This JOURNAL 60 no. 3 (2000) 842–46.
Wadsworth Alfred P. and Julia de Lacy MannThe Cotton Trade and Industrial Lancashire, 1600-1780. Manchester: Manchester University Press 1931
Young Arthur.A Six Month's Tour Through the North of England. London: W. Strahan 1770.
Young Arthur.Travels in France During the Years 1787, 1788, & 1789, edited by Constantia Maxwell Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1950.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The Journal of Economic History
  • ISSN: 0022-0507
  • EISSN: 1471-6372
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-economic-history
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 35
Total number of PDF views: 419 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 1595 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 18th December 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.