Why did the Industrial Revolution happen in Western Europe? Was it a sudden acceleration of the European economy, or should we look at specific institutions arising in Western Europe since the Middle Ages? This book puts these big questions of European economic history in a global perspective, deals with the institutions that developed in Europe, and measures their relative efficiency over time and compared with other parts of Eurasia. It traces the growth of human capital in the centuries between 1000 and 1800, in comparison with China, Japan and India. It also demonstrates how important the European Marriage Pattern was for understanding Europe’s past. The result is a new synthesis of the origins of the Industrial Revolution.
Jan Luiten van Zanden (1955) is professor of economic history at Utrecht University and senior researcher at the International Institute of Social History. He has published widely on the economic history of the Netherlands, Western Europe, and Indonesia.
...una obra de sumo interes para todos los historiadores económicos e interesados en el desarrollo económico, muy ambiciosa, que entreña la consagracíon definitiva de un gran maestro...
Enrique Llopis Agelán,
Universidad Complutense de Madrid (
Investigaciones de Historia Económica, 2011: 19, 189-193
Table of contents
List of Illustrations
Introduction: The Long Road to the Industrial Revolution
Part One Medieval Foundations Introducing the Problem: The Emergence of Efficient Institutions in the Middle Ages
Why the European Economy Expanded Rapidly in a Period of Political Fragmentation
Book Production as a Mirror of Emerging European Knowledge Economy (with Eltjo Buringh)
Part Two The Little Divergence within Europe Introducing the Problem: the Little Divergence within Europe, 1400-1800
4. Girlpower. The European Marriage Pattern and Labour Markets in the North Sea Tegion in the Late Medieval Period (with Tine de Moor)
Part Three Common Workmen, Philosophers and the Birth of a European Knowledge Economy Introducing the Problem: The Birth of a European Knowledge Economy
5. The Human Capital of the Common Workmen: European Skill Premium in the a Global Perspective
6. The Philosophers and the Revolution of the Printing Press
Part Four Towards the Dual Revolution: State Formation and Modern Economic Growth 7. State Formation and Citizenship: The Dutch Republic between Medieval Communes and Modern Nation States (with Maarten Prak).
8. The Emergence of Modern Economic Growth in the North Sea Region
Part Five Two Great Divergences 9. The Arab World, China, and Japan
Conclusion: ‘A million mutinies’
Appendix One. Further experiments with the Cobb Douglas production function: Italy and Western Europe
Appendix Two. Estimating Chinese GDP per capita in the eighteenth century
Economic historians, historians in general with a certain interest in economic history or global history, global historians, students in history