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There is little evidence that the Industrial Revolution was caused by a preference shift

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 November 2019

David Hirshleifer
Affiliation:
Merage School of Business, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, CA 92697. David.h@uci.edusteoh@uci.eduhttps://sites.uci.edu/dhirshle/https://sites.uci.edu/steoh/
Siew Hong Teoh
Affiliation:
Merage School of Business, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, CA 92697. David.h@uci.edusteoh@uci.eduhttps://sites.uci.edu/dhirshle/https://sites.uci.edu/steoh/

Abstract

The idea, based on Life History Theory, that the Industrial Revolution was a positive feedback process wherein prosperity induced prosperity-promoting preference shifts is just an intriguing speculation. The evidence does not distinguish this explanation from simple alternatives. For example, increased prosperity may have freed up time for individuals to engage in innovative activity and increased the benefits from doing so.

Type
Open Peer Commentary
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2019 

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