This paper examines the effect of the early adoption of technology on the evolution of human capital and industrialisation. We argue that mechanical skills and competence were a main determinant of the location of industry on the eve of the Industrial Revolution. It concentrates on the case of millwrights, eighteenth-century specialists in advanced carpentry and hydraulic machinery. Millwrights were a key part of the upper tail of the distribution of mechanical abilities. Their emergence was determined by the early adoption of watermills in the Middle Ages as recorded in the Domesday Book survey (1086). Their location displays considerable persistence.
|Number of pages||33|
|State||Published - 1 Jul 2022|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The research in this paper was funded by the Balzan Prize Foundation and the Northwestern University Center for Economic History and by the US-Israel Binational Science Foundation Grant #2010081.
© The Author(s) 2022.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Economics and Econometrics