Technology-Skill Complementarity in Early Phases of Industrialisation

Raphaël Franck*, Oded Galor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


This research explores the effect of early industrialisation on human capital formation. Exploiting exogenous regional variations in the adoption of steam engines across France, the study suggests that, in contrast to conventional wisdom that views early industrialisation as a predominantly deskilling process, the industrial revolution was conducive for human capital formation, generating wide-ranging gains in literacy rates and educational attainment. However, this increase in human capital formation was limited to basic literacy and numeracy and did not entail an increase in the share of pupils in middle and high schools in the population.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)618-643
Number of pages26
JournalEconomic Journal
Issue number642
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press.


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