Why Britain?

Confident black woman with crossed arms standing in front of crowd of people during demonstrations for black civil rights.
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Here is a new paper by Carl Hallmann, W. Walker Hanlon, and Lukas Rosenberger, of great interest:

Why did Britain attain economic leadership during the Industrial Revolution? We argue that Britain possessed an important but underappreciated innovation advantage: British inventors worked in technologies that were more central within the innovation network. We offer a new approach for measuring the innovation network using patent data from Britain and France in the 18th and early 19th century. We show that the network influenced innovation outcomes and then demonstrate that British inventors worked in more central technologies within the innovation network than inventors from France. Then, drawing on recently-developed theoretical tools, we quantify the implications for technology growth rates in Britain compared to France. Our results indicate that the shape of the innovation network, and the location of British inventors within it, can help explain the more rapid technological growth in Britain during the Industrial Revolution.

Hallmann is on the job market from Northwestern, noting that his main paper is on labor, short-term work, and employment scarring.

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