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Accounting for breakout in Britain: The Industrial Revolution through a Malthusian lens
This paper develops a simple dynamic model to examine the breakout from a Malthusian economy to a modern growth regime. It identifies several factors that determine the fastest rate at which the population can grow without engendering declining living standards; this is termed maximum sustainable population growth. We then apply the framework to Britain and find a dramatic increase in sustainable population growth at the time of the Industrial Revolution, well before the beginning of modern levels of income growth. The main contributions to the British breakout were technological improvements ...
The Visible Hand: The Role of Government in China’s Long-Awaited Industrial Revolution
China is undergoing its long-awaited industrial revolution. There is no shortage of commentary and opinion on this dramatic period, but few have attempted to provide a coherent, in-depth, political economic framework that explains the fundamental mechanisms behind China?s rapid industrialization. This article reviews the New Stage Theory of economic development put forth by Wen (2016a). It illuminates the critical sequence of developmental stages since the reforms enacted by Deng Xiaoping in 1978: namely, small-scale commercialized agricultural production, proto-industrialization in the ...
Escaping the Middle-Income Trap: A Cross-Country Analysis on the Patterns of Industrial Upgrading
With rapid industrial upgrading along the global value chain of manufactured goods, China has transformed, within one generation, from an impoverished agrarian society to a middle-income nation as well as the largest manufacturing powerhouse in the world. This article identifies the pattern of China?s industrial upgrading and compares it with those of other successfully industrialized economies and the failed ones. We find that (i) China (since 1978) followed essentially the same path of industrial upgrading as that of Japan and the ?Asian Tigers.? These economies succeeded in catching up ...
The Making of an Economic Superpower―Unlocking China’s Secret of Rapid Industrialization
The rise of China is no doubt the most important event in world economic history since the Industrial Revolution. The institutional theory of development based on a dichotomy of extractive vs. inclusive political institutions cannot explain China?s rise. This article argues that only a radical reinterpretation of the history of the Industrial Revolution and the rise of the West (as incorrectly portrayed by the institutional theory) can fully explain China?s growth miracle and why the determined rise of China is unstoppable. Conversely, China?s spectacular and rapid transformation from an ...