Spinning their wheels: a reply to Jane Humphries and Benjamin Schneider

Authors:
Robert C. Allen
Published Online:
03 May 2019
DOI:
10.1111/ehr.12850

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Abstract Jane Humphries and Benjamin Schneider have assembled several large databases of spinners’ production and wages that they believe disprove my view that high wages led to mechanization in eighteenth‐century England. This reply examines their data and shows that they have little value for understanding the incentives to mechanize. In addition, I present new evidence that substantiates my earlier estimates of productivity and earnings. The high wage hypothesis is unimpaired by the critique of Humphries and Schneider.

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