De-Industrialization and Underdevelopment: A Comparative Assessment Around the Periphery 1750-1939

Date Published:

Dec 1, 2004


The idea that the periphery suffered de-industrialization during the first global century before 1914 has a long pedigree, and every country writes its own independent history of that shared event. While that literature is immense, it has three shortcomings that are serious enough to invite this new attack on an old question. The first shortcoming is that the de-industrialization literature rarely makes a comparative statement. The second shortcoming of the de-industrialization literature is that when it is quantitative, it relies almost entirely on output and employment evidence, while it rarely exploits price and wage data. The third shortcoming of the de-industrialization literature is that it assumes that deindustrialization causes underdevelopment while industrialization causes development, rather than offering any evidence confirming the connection. What follows here is only a report on work in progress. There is much more left to be done.


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