Emerging Tech

The Rate And Direction Of Invention In The British Industrial Revolution: Incentives And Institutions

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Executive Summary

During the Industrial Revolution technological progress and innovation became the main drivers of economic growth. But why was Britain the technological leader? The authors argue that one hitherto little recognized British advantage was the supply of highly skilled, mechanically able craftsmen who were able to adapt, implement, improve, and tweak new technologies and who provided the micro inventions necessary to make macro inventions highly productive and remunerative. Using a sample of 759 of these mechanics and engineers, they study the incentives and institutions that facilitated the high rate of inventive activity during the Industrial Revolution.

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