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Project Citation: 

Caprettini, Bruno, and Voth, Hans-Joachim. Data and Code for: “Rage Against the Machines: Labor-Saving Technology and Unrest in Industrializing England.” Nashville, TN: American Economic Association [publisher], 2020. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2020-08-27.

Project Description

Summary:  View help for Summary Can new technology cause social instability and unrest? We examine the famous "Captain Swing" riots in 1830s England. Newly-collected data on threshing machine diffusion shows that labor-saving technology was associated with more riots. We instrument technology adoption with the share of heavy soils in a parish: IV estimates demonstrate that threshing machines were an important cause of unrest. Where alternative employment opportunities softened the blow of new technology, there was less rioting. Conversely, where enclosures had impoverished workers, the effect of threshing machines on rioting was amplified.
Funding Sources:  View help for Funding Sources Swiss National Foundation (PZ00P1_173998); Swiss National Foundation (100018_156197); Richard Büchner Stiftung

Scope of Project

Subject Terms:  View help for Subject Terms labor-saving technology; social instability; riots; welfare support; agricultural technology; factor prices; technological change
JEL Classification:  View help for JEL Classification
      J21 Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
      J43 Agricultural Labor Markets
      N33 Economic History: Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy: Europe: Pre-1913
      P16 Capitalist Systems: Political Economy
Geographic Coverage:  View help for Geographic Coverage England and Wales
Time Period(s):  View help for Time Period(s) 1/1/1800 – 12/31/1831 (Swing riots of 1830-32)
Collection Date(s):  View help for Collection Date(s) 3/1/2016 – 1/3/2020
Universe:  View help for Universe English and Welsh historical parishes.
Data Type(s):  View help for Data Type(s) aggregate data; census/enumeration data; geographic information system (GIS) data; observational data; program source code; survey data; text

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