The Democratization of Invention During Early Industrialization: Evidence from the United States, 1790-1846

37 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2007 Last revised: 14 Jul 2010

See all articles by Kenneth L. Sokoloff

Kenneth L. Sokoloff

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Beethika Khan

National Science Foundation

Date Written: December 1989

Abstract

We employ the 1860 Census of Manufactures to study rural antebellum manufacturing in the South and Midwest, and find that manufacturing output per capita was similar across regions in counties specialized in the same agricultural products. The southern deficit in manufactures per capita appears to have been largely attributable to the very low levels of output in counties specialized in cotton production. This implies that it was the South's capabilities for the highly profitable cotton production, not the existence of slavery per se, that was responsible for the region's limited industrial development -- at least in rural areas. The other major finding is that in both the South and the Midwest measured total factor productivity was significantly lower in counties specialized in wheat (the most seasonal of agricultural products as regards labor requirements). This is consistent with suggestions that agricultural districts where the predominant crops were highly seasonal in their requirements for labor were well suited to support manufacturing enterprise during the offpeak periods.

Suggested Citation

Sokoloff, Kenneth L. and Khan, Beethika, The Democratization of Invention During Early Industrialization: Evidence from the United States, 1790-1846 (December 1989). NBER Working Paper No. h0010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=570788

Kenneth L. Sokoloff (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Economics ( email )

Box 951477
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1477
United States
310-825-4249,310-825-1011 (Phone)
310-825-9528 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Beethika Khan

National Science Foundation ( email )

4201 Wilson Blvd.
Suite 965
Arlington, VA 22230
United States
(703) 292 4669 (Phone)

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