Industrialisation in Britain and France, 1750-1870

Trinity Term, 2012

Lecturer and tutor

Dr. Brian A'Hearn, Pembroke College
phone: 276 435

Jump to:

    Week 1
    Week 2
    Week 3
    Week 4
    Week 5
    Week 6
    Week 7
    Week 1
    Week 2
    Week 3
    Week 4
    Week 5
    Week 6
    Week 7


Industrialisation in Britain and France 1750-1870 is an optional subject for first-year students reading History & Economics. The course is intended as a sort of "bridge paper" between the two disciplines. It offers an introduction to both the substance and the methods of economic history, in the context of what might be considered the field's founding question: what were the causes and consequences of the Industrial Revolution? Students will work with both literary sources and quantitative data, apply theoretical frameworks (some introduced in the Approaches to History lectures), and develop a feel for comparative history. I hope the course will provide good preparation for subjects such as The First Industrial Revolution 1700-1870 and British Economic History since 1870.

While the period 1750-1870 is specified in the course title, in fact there will be more emphasis on the 18th century. For this period we can rely on well-developed literatures about the origins of the industrial revolution in Britain and about the collapse of the ancien regime in France. (The economic history of the early 19th century, at least for France, is less well covered in the literature.) The course does stick closely to the advertised theme of industrialisation, however. The constraint of seven one-hour lectures imposes some difficult choices among the many important topics that ought to be addressed. In general, the causes and mechanisms of industrialisation are treated much more fully than the consequences. There is little discussion of important issues such as child labour or poor relief, for example.


Lectures: Weeks 1-7, Tuesdays at 10:00, Seminar Room C, Manor Road Building.

Lectures will give an overview, a sort of roadmap and introduction to relevant economic concepts, historical topics, and data. A broader range of issues that can be discussed in tutorials will be addressed. Readings for each lecture are given below. You should try to read the "lecture" selections before lecture.

In Week 1 there will be an additional lecture Thursday, same time and place.

Classes: Weeks 2-7, Thursdays, same time and place.

Classes will be devoted primarily to student presentations of the required primary source readings. Many students have prepared Power Point or similar presentations (which I would ask you to share with me so I can distribute them to the others), but these are not required. Classes are also an opportunity for informal discussion of lecture material. The assigned primary sources may not always match the lecture or essay topics for the week.

Tutorials: Weeks 2-7, Friday afternoons in my room at Pembroke, groups and times TBA.

Tutorials will be devoted to discussion of student essays. The essay topics are (meant to be) ambitious and stimulating, even if this means being less clearly defined that would be ideal, or less tightly linked to a clear set of optimal readings. If you look at old prelims papers, you should see that the essay topics are similar to the sort of questions posed on exams.

Preparation of these essays is where most of your time will be invested, and what you write in them or say about them in tutorials is what you might remember 10 years from now, more than the lectures. So they are deliberately challenging. They could require you to dig into specific details or to link different topics or time periods. Or both. In general, it is important to show both an understanding of broad interpretations and of the historical evidence.

Essays must not exceed 2000 words. They should make explicit reference to the sources used, about which full bibliographic information should be provided even if they are drawn from the reading lists. I require both a paper and an electronic copy, both to be delivered by 4:00 Thursday afternoon (the paper copy to the porter's lodge at Pembroke, the computer file by e-mail). To reiterate, the essays are due the afternoon before your tutorial.


One might organise the material chronologically, or by country. A more satisfactory approach might be thematic; click here for such an outline. We will in fact do most of the topics on that more detailed list, just in a different order. The outline might help you organise the material when you revise. In practice our week-by-week schedule is dictated by practical concerns such as trying where possible to link lecture and essay topics, or to ensure enough breath of knowledge has been accumulated to tackle some topics. (Or giving the lecturer more time to prepare!)

Week 1. Industrial Revolution, industrialisation, or economic development?

Two lectures devoted to a mostly quantitative description of the historical process of industrialisation and identification of its proximate causes and mechanics. Consequences for standards of living.

Essay: no essay this week

Notes (a)   alt. (a)   (b)   alt. (b)

Week 2. Institutions, property rights and agriculture

Institutional economics and property rights. Agricultural and industrial revolutions. Large scale capitalist farming in Britain and small scale peasant farming in France.

Essay: Do different patterns of land tenure explain England’s advantage over France in agricultural productivity?

Alt. notes

Week 3. a. The State i (Britain); b. Demography and living standards.

A lecture on the role of the state, with particular focus on public finance and its impact on the economy in Britain. A (largely unrelated) essay contrasting demographic developments or living standards in Britain and France.

Essay: Either What explains divergent population trends in Britain and France in the 18th and 19th centuries? Or In which of Britain and France did ordinary working people enjoy a higher standard of living?


Week 4. Markets (internal)

Demand-side influences on industrialisation and technical change. Inequality, the development of a consumer society, internal market integration, and protectionism.

Essay: "From Napoleon's Continental System through to the Cobden-Chevalier Treaty, France operated a tariff regime that was crucial to the development of a modern industrial sector." Discuss.

I would like to have assigned something on the railroads in Britain and France, particularly about the organisation and financing of their construction and about their impact on market integration. But I had trouble finding good, accessible readings. It's a classic topic in US economic history, on which Fogel and Chandler wrote two of their important early books, but I don't know equally salient British or French works. If anyone wants to write on this, I'd love to read it!


Week 5. The State ii (France)

Public finance under the old regime and the origins and nature of the Revolution. Economic effects of Revolution and War.

Essay: Do the English Revolution of 1688 and the French Revolution of 1789 represent decisive steps in the development of capitalism in the two countries?


Week 6. Technology

Technological innovation in Britain and France and its determinants: ideas, resource endowments, and policy.

Essay: Why were the key technical innovations of the industrial revolution British?


Week 7 a. France 1789-1815 and beyond; b. trade, slavery, and industrialisation

Essay: Was industrialisation in Britain or France dependent on slavery?

An alternative possibility is "Was British industrialisation dependent on Indian de-industrialisation?"


Readings - general

This is a comprehensive list of all readings required for each week’s lecture, class, and tutorial. It is not expected that you would read all or even most of these. And conversely there are surely excellent works that are not on the list; you are very much encouraged to explore in your reading and find your own sources. Those listed here could be just a starting point.

The readings are grouped into three categories. You should try to read the "lecture" readings before lecture. "Tutorial and further" readings will let you explore some issues raised in the lecrtures in greater depth, and will provide sources for your tutorial essays. "Primary" readings are for our classes. While everyone should do all the primary readings, each week I will ask one or more students to make a presentation on one or more of them. Note that there are packets of copies of the primary readings available at the History Faculty Library, as well as on-line via "weblearn". Beware of differences between editions of the same work and don't leave it until the last minute to search for them.

There are several useful works that are either of a general nature or to which we will repeatedly refer during the course. These are listed here, while the remainder are listed under the relevant week further below.

Floud, R. and P. Johnson (eds.), The Cambridge Economic History of Modern Britain, vol. I. Cambridge: CUP, 2004. CEHMB henceforth. A key reference work with chapters by authoritative contributors.

Asselain, Jean-Charles. Histoire économique de la France. Vol. 1. De l'Ancien Régime ą la PremiŹre Guerre mondiale. Paris: Editions du Seuil, 1984. A nice overview. Not very in-depth, and not reflecting the latest research, but concise, clear and very readable. Lacks references, though there is a bibliography at the end of the second volume.

O'Brien, P., Keyder, C. Economic Growth in Britain and France 1780-1914. Two Paths to the Twentieth Century. London: Allen & Unwin, 1978.

Heywood, Colin. The Development of the French Economy, 1750-1914. Cambridge: CUP, 1992. One of the Economic History Society’s overview pamphlets, so very brief and providing a good introduction.

Allen, Robert. The British Industrial Revolution in Global Perspective. Cambridge: CUP, 2009. Very good, also reasonably short and an easy read. Promotes a specific interpretation.

Mokyr, Joel. The Enlightened Economy: An Economic History of Britain 1700-1850. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2009. Only about Britain and seeking to make a particular point not always relevant to the topics here, but offers an up-to-date summary of the evidence and debate on a wide range of issues by a good writer and leading authority.

Crouzet, F. Britain Ascendant: Comparative Studies in Franco-British History. Cambridge: CUP, 1990. A collection of essays by this authority on both Britain and France, some dating back to the 1960s. Originally published in French c. 1985.

We will often refer to articles from the Journal of Economic History, the Economic History Review, Explorations in Economic History, and the European Review of Economic History. These will be abbreviated JEH, EHR, EEH, and EREH in what follows.

Readings, Week 1: Industrial revolution, industrialisation, or economic growth?


Allen, R., “The Great Divergence in European Wages and Prices from the Middle Ages to the First World War”, EEH, vol. 38 (2001), pp. 411-447.


  . . ., “Britain's Economic Ascendancy in a European Context”, Ch. 1 in Exceptionalism and Industrialisation: Britain and its European Rivals, 1688-1815", Leandro Prados de la Escosura, ed. (Cambridge: CUP, 2004), pp. 15-34.

Crafts, N. F. R., “Economic Growth in France and Britain, 1830-1910: A Review of the Evidence”, JEH, vol. 44 (1984), pp. 49-67.

Mokyr, J., “Accounting for the Industrial Revolution,” CEHMB, Vol. 1, Ch. 1, pp. 1-27.

Further / tutorial

Berg, M. and Hudson, P., “Rehabilitating the Industrial Revolution”, EHR, vol. 45 (1992), pp. 24-50.

Crafts, N. F. R., “Patterns of Development in 19th century Europe”, Oxford Economic Papers, vol. 36 (1984), pp. 438-58.

Crafts, N.F.R. and Harley, C.K., “Output Growth in the British Industrial Revolution: A Restatement of the Crafts-Harley View”, EHR, vol. 45 (1992), pp. 703-730.

Crouzet, F., “The Historiography of French Economic Growth in the 19th Century”, EHR, vol. 56 (2003), pp. 215-242.

Grantham, G., “The French Cliometric Revolution”, EREH, 1 (1997), pp. 353-405. A useful overview of recent quantitative work.

Heywood, C. The Development of the French Economy.

Hoffman, P. and J-L Rosenthal, "New Work in French Economic History," French Historical Studies, vol. 23, no. 3 (summer 2000), pp. 439-453. A useful overview by two authorities.

Kemp, T., “French Economic Development – A Paradox?”, Ch. 3 in T. Kemp, Industrialisation in 19th Century Europe (Harlow: Longman, 1969), pp. 52-80.

Komlos, J., “An Anthropometric History of Early-Modern France, 1666-1766”, EREH, vol. 7 (2003), pp. 159–189.

O'Brien and Keyder, Economic Growth in Britain and France. Chs. 1-3, pp. 15-82.

Parker, D. Class and State in Ancien Regime France. London: Routledge, 1996. Ch. 7 “France, England and the Capitalist Road” offers an overview comparison for the pre-1789 period. See also Ch. 2 “The French Economy: a Case of Arrested Development”.

Roehl, R., “French Industrialisation: A Reconsideration”, EEH, vol. 13 (1976), pp. 233-81. 

Voth, H.-J., "Living Standards and the Urban Environment," CEHMB, vol. 1, Ch. 10, pp. 268-94.


None this week; no class.

Week 2. Institutions, property rights and agriculture


The New Palgrave Dictionary of Econonmics online. See articles on "Property Rights", "Institutions and Economic Growth", and "New Institutional Economics" and browse related topics.

Allen, R., “Agriculture During the Industrial Revolution, 1700-1850,” CEHMB vol. I, ch. 4, pp. 96-116.

O’Brien, P. K., “Path Dependency, or Why Britain Became Industrialised and Urbanised Long Before France”, EHR, vol. 49 (1996), pp. 213-49.

Rosenthal, J.-L., “The Development of Irrigation in Provence, 1700-1860”, JEH, vol. 50 (1990), pp. 615-38.

Further / essay

Allen, R., "Economic Structure and Agricultural Productivity in Europe, 1300-1800", EREH, vol. 4 (2000), pp. 1-25.

Allen, R., "Tracking the Agricultural Revolution in England", EHR, vol. 52 (1999), pp. 209-235.

Allen, R., and O'Grada, C., "On the Road Again with Arthur Young: English, Irish and French Agriculture during the Industrial Revolution", JEH, vol. 48 (1988), pp. 93-116.

Brenner, R. "Agrarian Class Structure and Economic Development in Pre-Industrial Europe," reprinted in T. Aston and C. Philpin (eds.), The Brenner Debate (Cambridge: CUP, 1985), pp. 10-63.

Clark, G., “Commons Sense: Common Property Rights, Efficiency, and Institutional Change”, JEH, vol. 58 (1998), pp. 73-102. Argues against importance of enclosures.

Crafts, N. F. R., and Harley, C. K., "Precocious British Industrialisation: A General Equilibrium Perspective", Ch. 4 in Exceptionalism and Industrialisation: Britain and its European Rivals, 1688-1815, Leandro Prados de la Escosura, ed. (Cambridge: CUP, 2004). Also available in working paper form, should be downloadable.

Grantham, G. W., "The Persistence of Open-Field Farming in 19th Century France", JEH, vol. 40 (1980), pp. 515-31.

Grantham, G. W., "Agricultural Supply during the Industrial Revolution: French Evidence and European Implications," JEH, vol. 49 (1989), pp. 43-72.

Grantham, G., "The French Cliometric Revolution", EREH, vol 1 (1997), pp. 353-405.

Hoffman, P., "Land Rents and Agricultural Productivity: The Paris Basin, 1450-1789," JEH, vol. 51 (1991), pp. 771-805.

Hoffman, P. Growth in a Traditional Society. The French Countryside, 1450-1815. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1996. Chs. 1-3 are a very readable and interesting introduction. Ch. 4 is about the evidence in the JEH article cited above.

McCloskey, D., "The Enclosure of Open Fields: Preface to a Study of Its Impact on Efficiency of English Agriculture in the 18th Century", JEH, vol. 32 (1972), pp. 15-35.

North, D. Institutions, Institutional Change, and Economic Performance. Cambridge: CUP, 1990. Really you could read anything by North. This is a concise, readable summary -- more about the ideas than the history. You might concentrate on Part I, which defines what institutions are, and browse Parts II-III, which discuss institutional change and economic performance.

O'Brien, P. K. and C. Keyder. Economic Growth in Britain and France. Ch. 5, pp. 102-145.


Young, A. Travels in France during the Years 1787, 1788 and 1789, pp. 279-300, 312-13. Page numbers differ for Travels in France and Italy editions.

Cliffe Leslie, T.E. "The Land System in France", in Systems of Land Tenure in Various Countries, edited by J.W. Probyn, 1881, pp. 291-312.

de la Rochefoucauld, F. A Frenchman in England, 1784, pp. 157-242.

Reach, Angus B. Claret and Olives from the Garonne and Rhone, London, 1852, pp. 256-263.

Week 3: a. The State i (Britain). b. Demography and living standards.

North, D., and B. Weingast, “Constitutions and Commitment: The Evolution of Institutions Governing Public Choice in 17th Century England”, JEH, vol. 49 (1989), pp. 803-32. This is a classic, much cited article.

Clark, G., “The Political Foundation of Modern Economic Growth: England, 1540-1800”, Journal of Interdisciplinary History, vol. 26 (1996), pp. 563-88. This article offers evidence inconsistent with the North's famous interpretation of 1688.

Lecture further

Dincecco, M., “Fiscal Centralization, Limited Government, and Public Revenues in Europe, 1650-1913”, JEH, vol. 69 (2009), pp. 48-103.

Epstein, S. Freedom and Growth: the Rise of States and Markets in Europe, 1300-1750. London: Routledge, 2000, pp. 12-37. More evidence inconsistent with North. Also relevant for understanding the state's fiscal power.

Harris, R. “Government and the Economy, 1688-1850”, Ch. 8 in CEHMB, vol. 1. pp. 204-37.

Mokyr, J. The Enlightened Economy. Ch. 17, “Formal institutions: the state and the economy”, pp. 392-448.

Robinson, J., and S. Pincus, "What Really Happened During the Glorious Revolution?" working paper, Harvard University, 2012. (Available on line). Supports North & Weingast on the importance of 1688, but disputes how and why.


Cinnirella, F., “Optimists or Pessimists? A Reconsideration of Nutritional Status in Britain, 1740-1865”, EREH, vol. 12 (2008), pp. 325-354.

Feinstein, C., “Pessimism Perpetuated: Real Wages and the Standard of Living in Britain During and After the Industrial Revolution,” JEH, vol. 58, no. 3 (1998), pp. 625-658.

Goldstone, J., “The Demographic Revolution in England: a Re-examination,” Population Studies,vol. 40 (1986), pp. 5-33.

Heyberger, L. “Toward an anthropometric history of provincial France, 1780–1920”, Economics and Human Biology, vol. 5 (2007), pp. 229-54.

Komlos, J., “An Anthropometric History of Early-Modern France, 1666-1766”, EREH, vol. 7 (2003), pp. 159–189.

Lindert, P., “Poor relief before the Welfare State: Britain versus the Continent, 1780–1880”, EREH, vol. 2 (1998), pp. 101-140.

Lindert, P., “Unequal Living Standards”, Ch. 14 in R. Floud and D. McCloskey (eds.), The Economic History of Britain Since 1700, 2nd ed., vol. 1 (Cambridge: CUP, 1994), pp. 357-386

Milanovic, B. “Level of income and income distribution in mid-18th century France, according to Francois Quesnay,” working paper available on-line.

Mokyr, J. The Enlightened Economy. Chs. 13 (“Demographic Transition”) and 18 (“Living Standards and Inequality”), pp. 279-308, 449-474.

Morrison, C. and W. Snyder, “The Income Inequality of France in Historical Perspective”, EREH, vol. 4 (2000), pp. 59-83.

Voth, H.-J., “Living Standards and the Urban Environment,” Ch. 10 in CEHMB, vol. I. pp. 268-94.

Weir, D., “Parental Consumption Decisions and Child Health During the Early French Fertility Decline, 1790-1914,” JEH, vol. 53 (1993), pp. 259-274.

Weir, D., “Life Under Pressure: France and England, 1670-1870”, JEH, vol. 44 (1984), pp. 27-47.

Wrigley, E.A., “British Population During the ‘Long’ Eighteenth Century, 1680-1840”, Ch. 3 in CEHMB, vol. I. pp. 57-95.


Malthus, T.R., An Essay on the Principle of Population, 1798. (Read the first edition, 1798, skimming the chapters devoted to a critique of other thinkers.)

Faucher, Leon. Manchester in 1844: Its Present Condition and Future Prospects, 1844, pp. 1-20, 85-152.

Birkbeck, Morris. Notes on a Journey through France in 1814, 99-115.

Colman, Henry. The Agriculture and Rural Economy of France, Belgium, Holland and Switzerland, 1848, pp. 20-40.

Week 4. Markets (internal)

Lecture - priority

de Vries, J. “The Industrial Revolution and the Industrious Revolution”, JEH, vol. 54 (1994), pp. 249-270.

Bogart, D., “Turnpike trusts and the transportation revolution in 18th century England,” EEH, vol 42 (2005), pp. 479-508.

Lecture further

Daudin, G., “Domestic Trade and Market Size in Late-Eighteenth-Century France”, JEH, vol. 70, no. 3 (2010), pp. 716-43.

de Vries, J. The Industrious Revolution: Consumer Behavior and the Household Economy, 1650 to the Present. Cambridge: CUP, 2008.

Fairchilds, C. “The Production and Marketing of Populuxe Goods in Eighteenth-Century Paris”, Ch. 11 in J. Brewer and R. Porter (eds.), Consumption and the World of Goods: Understanding the Household Economy in Early Modern Europe (London: Routledge, 1994), pp. 228- 48.

Horrell, S., “Home Demand and British Industrialization,” JEH, vol. 56, no. 3 (Sept. 1996), pp. 561-604.

Lewis, G. “Proto-Industrialization in France,” EHR, vol. 47, no. 1 (Feb. 1994), pp. 150-64.

Lindert, P., “Unequal Living Standards”, Ch. 14 in R. Floud and D. McCloskey (eds.), The Economic History of Britain Since 1700, 2nd ed., vol. 1 (Cambridge: CUP, 1994), pp. 357-386.

Milanovic, B. “Level of income and income distribution in mid-18th century France, according to Francois Quesnay,” working paper available on-line.

Morrison, C. and W. Snyder, “The Income Inequality of France in Historical Perspective”, EREH, vol. 4 (2000), pp. 59-83.

Sewell, W., "The Empire of Fashion and the Rise of Capitalism in Eighteenth-Century France," Past and Present, no. 206 (Feb. 2010), pp. 81-120. I have not yet read this one, which looks very useful.

Weisdorf, J. “Consumer Revolution, Industrious Revolution, and Industrial Revolution: Why England, not France?”, working paper, Dept. of Economics, University of Copenhagen, 2009. Available on-line. (And since published in Cliometrica).


Nye, J., “Firm Size and Economic Backwardness: A New Look at the French Industrialization Debate”, JEH, vol. 47 (1987), pp. 649-61.

Nye, J., “The Myth of Free-Trade Britain and Fortress France: Tariffs and Trade in the Nineteenth Century”, JEH, vol. 51 (1991), pp. 23-46.

Nye, J. War, Wine, and Taxes. The Political Economy of Anglo-French Trade, 1689-1900. Princeton: Princeton UP, 2007. (Repetitive but an easy and interesting read.)

O’Rourke. K., “Tariffs and Growth in the Late 19th Century”, Economic Journal, vol. 110, no. 463 (April 2000), pp. 456-83.

Sicsic, P., "Establishment Size and Economies of Scale in 19th-century France," EEH, vol. 31 (1994), pp. 453-78.

On grain market integration:

Clark, G., “Markets and Economic Growth: The Grain Market of Medieval England”, working paper, Dept. of Economics, University of California – Davis. Available on-line.

O’Grada, C. and J.-M. Chevet, “Famine and Market in Ancien Régime France”, JEH, vol. 62 (2002), pp. 706-733.

Persson, Gunnar. Grain Markets in Europe 1500-1900, Integration and Regulation. Cambridge: CUP, 1999.

Shiue, C. and W. Keller, “Markets in China and Europe on the Eve of the Industrial Revolution”, working paper, University of Colorado, 2006. Available on-line.

Chevet, J.-M. and P. Saint-Amour, “ L'intégration des marchés du blé en France au XIXe siŹcle”, Histoire et Mesure, vol. 6 (1991), pp. 93-119.


Note: these are not closely linked to this week’s other readings or lecture.

Taine, H. Notes on England, 1872, pp. 153-75, 272-99.

Ledru-Rollin, A.P.A. The Decline of England, 1850, pp. 19-32, 189-225, 249-62, 282- 91, 328-47.

Symons, J.C. Arts and Artisans at Home and Abroad with Sketches of the Progress of Foreign Manufacture, Edinburgh, 1839, selections.

Week 5. The State ii (France)

Lecture - priority

Doyle, W. Origins of the French Revolution, 3rd ed. Oxford: OUP, 1999.


Lewis, G. The French Revolution: Rethinking the Debate. London: Routledge, 1993. Read selections from either book.

Further lecture / essay

Week 3 readings on the British state.

Aftalion, F. The French Revolution: An Economic Interpretation. Cambridge: CUP, 1990.

Acemoglu, D., D. Cantoni, S. Johnson, and J. Robinson, “The Consequences of Radical Reform: the French Revolution”, MIT Department of Economics Working Paper 09-08 (2009).

Crouzet, F. “War, Blockade, and Economic Change in Europe, 1792-1815,” JEH, vol. 24 no. 4 (1964), pp. 567-590.

Mathias P., and P. O’Brien, “Taxation in Britain and France, 1715-1810. A Comparison of the Social and Economic Incidence of Taxes Collected for the Central Governments,” Journal of European Economic History, vol. 5 (1976), pp. 601-650.

Norberg, K. “The French Fiscal Crisis of 1788 and the Financial Origins of the Revolution of 1789,” Ch. 7 in Fiscal Crises, Liberty, and Representative Government 1450-1789 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1994) P. Hoffman and K. Norberg, eds., pp. 253-298.

Revue Économique. Numéro spécial: "Révolution de 1789: Guerres et Croissance économique". vol. 40, no. 6 (Nov. 1989). This can be accessed on-line via Bodleian.

Riley, J. The Seven Years War and the Old Regime in France: The Economic and Financial Toll. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1986.

Root, H., "The Redistributive Role of Government: Economic Regulation in Old Regime France and England", Comparative Studies in Society and History, vol. 33, No. 2 (Apr., 1991), pp. 338-369.

Rosenthal, J.-L. The Fruits of Revolution: Property Rights, Litigation, and French Agriculture, 1700-1860. Cambridge: CUP, 1992.

Rosenthal, J.-L., “The Political Economy of Absolutism Reconsidered”, in Robert Bates et al. (eds.), Analytical Narratives (Princeton: PUP, 1998), pp. 64-108.

Sargent, T. and F. Velde, “Macroeconomic Features of the French Revolution”, Journal of Political Economy, vol. 103 no. 3 (June 1995), pp. 474-518.

Sutherland, D., “Peasants, Lords, and Leviathan: Winners and Losers from the Abolition of French Feudalism, 1780-1820”, JEH, vol. 62 no. 1 (March 2002), pp. 1-24.

Velde, F. and D. Weir, “The Financial Market and Government Debt Policy in France, 1746-1793”, JEH, vol. 52 no. 1 (March 1992), pp. 1-39.

White, E., “The French Revolution and the Politics of Government Finance, 1770-1815”, JEH, vol. 55 no. 2 (June 1995), pp. 227-255.

White, E., “France and the Failure to Modernize Macroeconomic Institutions,” working paper available on-line, presented at 12th International Economic History Conference, Madrid, 1998.


Chaumont, F., Memoire sur la France et l’Angleterre, 1760 (English Translation)

Nickolls, J. (L-J. Plumard de Danguel). Remarks on the Advantages and Disadvantages of France and Great Britain, 1754, pp. 1-48.

Week 6. Technology

Lecture / Priority

Crafts, N., "Macroinventions, economic growth, and 'industrial revolution' in Britain and France," EHR, vol. xlviii no. 3 (1995), pp. 591-98.

Allen, R.C. The British Industrial Revolution in Global Perspective. Cambridge: CUP, 2009. Part II: The Industrial Revolution, pp. 133-276 Long selection, but good and readable.


Bruland, K., “Industrialisation and Technological Change,” Ch. 5 in CEHMB, vol. I. pp. 117-146.

Crafts, N., "Exogenous or Endgogenous Growth? The Industrial Revolution Reconsidered," JEH, vol. 55 no. 4 (Dec. 1995), pp. 745-72.

Fremdling, R., “Transfer Patterns of British Technology to the Continent: The Case of the Iron Industry”, EREH, vol. 4 (2000), pp. 195-222.

Griffiths, T., P. Hunt and P. O’Brien, “Inventive Activity in the British Textile Industry, 1700-1800”, JEH, vol. 52 (1992), pp. 881-906.

Horn, J., "Avoiding Revolution: the French Path to Industrialization," Ch. 5 in Reconceptualizing the Industrial Revolution, J. Horn, N. Rosenband, and M. Roe Smith, eds. (Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2011), pp. 87-106.

Horn, J., The Path not Taken. French Industrialization in the Age of Revolution, 1750-1830. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2006.

Khan, Z., “An Economic History of Patent Institutions”, Encyclopaedia.

Landes, D. The Unbound Prometheus. Technological Change and Industrial Development in Western Europe from 1750 to the Present. Cambridge: CUP, 1969 or 2e/reprint 2003). Ch. 3 “Continental Emulation” pp. 124-192.

Macleod, C., "The European origins of British technological predominance," Ch. 5 in Execptionalism and Industrialisation: Britain and its European Rivals, 1688-1815, Leandro Prados de la Escosura, ed. (Cambridge: CUP, 2004), oo. 111-26.

Mokyr, J. The Gifts of Athena. Historical Origins of the Knowledge Economy. Princeton: PUP, 2002. Chs. 2-3, pp. 28-118.

Mokyr, J. The Lever of Riches. Technological Creativity and Economic Progress. Oxford: OUP, 1990. Ch. 10, pp. 239-269; Chs. 5-6, pp. 81-148.

Mokyr, J. The Enlightened Economy, Chs. 6-7: “The Origins of British Technological Leadership" and “Technological Change and the Industrial Revolution”, pp. 99-144.

Moser, P., "How Do Patent Laws Influence Innovation? Evidence from Nineteenth Century World Fairs”, The American Economic Review, vol. 95 (2005), pp. 1214-1236.

Nye, J., "Firm Size and Economic Backwardness: A New Look at the French Industrialization Debate", JEH, vol. 47 (1987), pp. 649-61.

O’Brien, P., T. Griffiths and P. Hunt, "Technological Change During the First Industrial Revolution: the Paradigm Case of Cotton Textiles, 1688-1851" Ch. 9 in R. Fox (ed.), Technological Change (Routledge, 1998), pp. 155-176.

O’Brien et al, "Political components of the industrial revolution: parliament and the English cotton textile industry, 1660-1774," EHR 1991 394-423.

Root, H., "The Redistributive Role of Government: Economic Regulation in Old Regime France and England", Comparative Studies in Society and History, vol. 33, No. 2 (Apr., 1991), pp. 338-369.

Sicsic, P., "Establishment Size and Economies of Scale in 19th-century France," EEH, vol. 31 (1994), pp. 453-78.

Wrigley, T. Energy and the English Industrial Revolution. Cambridge: CUP, 2010.


Baines, E., History of the Cotton Manufacture in Great Britain, 1835, pp. 512-26.

Marshall, F., Population and Trade in France in 1861-62, chapters 7 and 8.

Great Exhibition, The Industry of Nations as Exemplified in the Great Exhibition of 1851, 1862, pp. 156-207.

Week 7. a. France after the Revolution; b. trade, slavery, and industrialisation


One or more of the following

Crouzet, F., “The Historiography of French Economic Growth in the 19th Century”, EHR, vol. 56 (2003), pp. 215-242.

Grantham, G., “The French Cliometric Revolution”, EREH, 1 (1997), pp. 353-405.

Asselain, J.-C., "Continuités, traumatismes, mutations," Revue Économique, vol. 40 no. 6 (Nov. 1989), pp. 1137-88.

Crouzet, F., "Les conséquences économiques de la Révolution franćaise: Réflexions sur un débat," Revue Économique, vol. 40 no. 6 (Nov. 1989), pp. 1189-1203.


There are not many readings here that specifically deal with slavery; you may wish to explore a little further on this topic.

Acemoglu, D., S. Johnson, and J. Robinson, "The Rise of Europe: Atlantic Trade, Institutional Change, and Economic Growth," American Economic Review, vol. 95 (2005), pp. 546-79.

Broadberry, S. and B. Gupta, "Cotton Textiles and the Great Divergence: Lancashire, India and Shifting Competitive Advantage, 1600-1850," CEPR Discussion Paper 5183, 2005.

Allen, R. The British Industrial Revolution in Global Perspective, Ch. 5 (“Why Britain Succeeded”), pp. 106-131.

Cuenca Esteban, J., "Comparative Patterns of Colonial Trade: Britain and its Rivals," Ch. 2 in Exceptionalism and Industrialisation: Britain and Its European Rivals, 1668-1815, L. Prados de la Escosura ed. (Cambridge: CUP, 2004), pp. 35-66.

Daudin, G., K. O’Rourke, and L. Prados de la Escosura, "Trade and Empire, 1700-1870" Document de Travail OFCE (Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques) no. 2008-24 (2008).

Eltis, D. and S. Engerman, "The Importance of Slavery and the Slave Trade to Industrializing Britain," JEH, vol. 60 no. 1 (Mar. 2000), pp. 123-44.

Findlay, R. and K. O'Rourke. Power and Plenty. Trade, War, and the World Economy in the Second Millennium. Princeton: Princeton UP, 2007. Ch. 6: "Trade and the Industrial Revolution" pp. 311-64.

Harley, C.K., "Trade: Discovery, Mercantilism and Technology," Ch. 7. in CEHMB, pp. 175-203.

Inikori, J. Africans and the Industrial Revolution in England: A Study in International Trade and Economic Development. Cambridge: CUP, 2002. Inikori is the currently active scholar most cited on the importance of slavery to British economic development.

Mokyr, J. The Enlightened Economy, Ch. 8 “Britain and the World: An Open Economy”.

O’Brien et al "Political components of the industrial revolution: parliament and the English cotton textile industry, 1660-1774," EHR 1991 394-423.

O’Brien, P., "Inseparable Connexions: Trade, Economy, Fiscal State and the Expansion of Empire" in Marshall, P.J. (ed.) The Oxford History of the British Empire. The Eighteenth Century (Oxford: OUP, 1998).

O'Brien, P. and S. Engerman, "Exports and the Growth of the British Economy from the Glorious Revolution to the Peace of Amiens," Ch. 8 in Slavery and the Rise of the Atlantic System, Barbara Solow, ed. (New York: CUP, 1991). pp. 177-209.

Parthasarathi, P. Why Europe Grew Rich and Asia Did Not: Global Economic Divergence, 1600-1850. Cambridge: CUP, 2011. Likely to have good material on India, but I have not read any of it.

Solow, B., “Caribbean Slavery and British Growth: the Eric Williams Hypothesis,” Journal of Development Economics, vol. 17 (1985), pp.99-115. Williams' classic book was Capitalism and Slavery, pub. 1944. He was also the first prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago, and a graduate of St. Catz.