Time for Growth
LSE Economic History Working Paper No. 222/2015
50 Pages Posted: 30 Aug 2015
Date Written: August 27, 2015
This paper studies the impact of the early adoption of one of the most important high-technology machines in history, the public mechanical clock, on long-run growth in Europe. We avoid endogeneity by considering the relationship between the adoption of clocks with two sets of instruments: distance from the first adopters and the appearance of repeated solar eclipses. The latter instrument is motivated by the predecessor technologies of mechanical clocks, astronomic instruments that measured the course of heavenly bodies. We find significant growth rates between 1500 and 1700 in the range of 30 percentage points in early adoptor cities and areas.
Keywords: technological adoption, cities, mechanical clocks, information technology
JEL Classification: 033, N13, N93
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