DP9626 The Location of the UK Cotton Textiles Industry in 1838: a Quantitative Analysis

Author(s): Nicholas Crafts, Nikolaus Wolf
Publication Date: September 2013
Keyword(s): agglomeration, cotton textiles, geography, industry location
JEL(s): N63, N93, R12
Programme Areas: Economic History
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=9626

We examine the geography of UK cotton textiles in 1838 to test claims about why the industry came to be so heavily concentrated in Lancashire. Our analysis considers both first and second nature geography including the availability of water power, humidity, coal prices, market access and sunk costs. We show that some of these characteristics have substantial explanatory power. Moreover, we exploit the change from water to steam power to show that the persistent effect of first nature characteristics on industry location can be explained by a combination of sunk costs and agglomeration effects.