Why Did the Industrial Revolution Happen in Britain in the Eighteenth Century?

The central feature of the Industrial Revolution was technological innovation on an unprecedented scale, so explaining the time and place of the innovation is tantamount to explaining the time and place of the Industrial Revolution. Why did this wave of innovation occur in Britain in the eighteenth century?

The Nineteenth-Century Rules for Growth

Over the course of the Industrial Revolution, Britain became an industrial superpower. Other countries had to find policies that would allow them to develop their industry despite Britain’s enormous first-mover advantage. These policies necessarily involved protectionist trade policies and government intervention…

The Second Industrial Revolution

The Second Industrial Revolution (1870-1914) was characterized by a close connection between science and technology. Science was developing: chemistry acquired its atomic foundations, for example, and the scientific study of electricity began. The extension of scientific knowledge gave technicians more avenues to investigate…

The Division of the World

W. Arthur Lewis explains how the world divided into manufacturers and primary producers…

More on the Division of the World

Long-distance trade grew rapidly during the nineteenth century. Third World countries increased their production of primary products, and decreased their production of industrial goods. The gap between the per capita incomes of the West and those of the Third World widened substantially…

The Transformation of Japan after the Meiji Restoration

In the three or four decades that followed the Meiji Restoration, Japan utterly transformed itself. The transformation was wide-ranging, deliberate, determined, and profound. By the beginning of World War I, Japan could justly claim to be among the leading nations of the world…

Why Nations Fail:
 Theory is Tidy, History is Messy

Acemoglu and Robinson argue that sustained growth is almost always attained in a particular way: inclusive political institutions develop first, followed by inclusive economic institutions, followed by growth. They recognize the boldness of their claim…

Chinese Politics in the Time of Deng Xiaoping

The era in which Deng Xiaoping restructured the Chinese economy was also an era of social unrest, both within China and in the Eastern Bloc…