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HInDI Report Summary

Project ID: 637695
Funded under: H2020-EU.1.1.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - HInDI (The historical dynamics of industrialization in Northwestern Europe and China ca. 1800-2010: A regional interpretation)

Reporting period: 2015-09-01 to 2017-02-28

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The research project ‘The Historical Dynamics of Industrialization in North-Western Europe and China, 1800-2010' aims to examine which factors determined how, and at what pace, industries developed in the different European and Chinese regions. The underlying question is whether the Industrial Revolution in Northwest Europe has indeed been decisive for the way in which other regions of the world developed.

The point of departure of the project is that amazingly little is known about the 19th century Industrial Revolution due to a lack of systematically collected historical data and because of the fact that until now largely developments on national level were studied. This research project follows a different route –based on the use of datasets- by looking more accurately at the developments in European and Chinese regions. The aim is to obtain an understanding of the spread and development of industries and how societies develop economically. The project does not only look at the factors that affect these developments, but also at the effects of the pace at which the industrialization process comes about.

For today's developing economies, these are practical questions they have to deal with. In addition, the research project touches upon the so-called Great Divergence debate in which the central question is how it is that prosperity in Europe from the end of the eighteenth century grew much faster than in China. Expectations are that the results of this study will also help us understand the current spectacular economic growth in China (and the stagnation in Europe) and its impact on global patterns of social inequality

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The first phase of the project was devoted to literature analysis and data collection. Hence, most activities are still work in progress with most papers being written in phase 2 and 3. That being said, the main results achieved so far are:

1) a dataset on provincial and sectoral level of industrialization in Belgium and the Netherlands for 1820, 1850, 1896, 1930, 1950, 1970, 2000, and 2010.
2) a dataset on municipal and sectoral level of industrialization in Belgium and the Netherlands for 1896, 1930, and 2000.
3) a dataset on county and sectoral level for China in 1933 is close too be finalized. The same applies for a prefecture level dataset for New China and while an archive-based factory level dataset on metallurgy for the Qing dynasty is under construction.
4) papers published in international journals:
*Xu, Y. & Van Leeuwen, B. (2016). China in World Industrialization. China Economist, 11(6), 98-109.
*Xu, Y., Ni, Y. & Van Leeuwen, B. (2016). Calculation China's Historical Economic Aggregate: A GDP-centered Overview. Social Sciences in China, 37(2), 56-75.

Papers accepted for publication:
*Xu, Y., Zhihong Shi, Bas van Leeuwen, Yuping Ni, Zipeng Zhang, and Ye Ma, 'Chinese National Income, ca. 1661-1933', Australian Economic History Review ( 2017 forthcoming).
*van Leeuwen, Bas, van Leeuwen-Li, Jieli, Foldvar, Peter (forthcoming), 'Human Capital in Republican and New China: Regional and Long-Term Trends,' Economic History of Developing Regions (2017 forthcoming).

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

This project tries to generate an impact in the following ways:

a) generate large consistent datasets. Even though some exist, this is still quite unique and can be used for many purposes both academic and non-academic.
b) We have tried to expand our data beyond what was promised at the start of the project by not just giving provincial data, but also (for benchmarks) municipal data. In the case of China we also have county data, including provinces not part of the original proposal. This is unique because such data do not exist yet for Republican, let alone New China.
c) We are currently expanding the theoretical model to include more detailed features such as spatial lags, multilevel modelling etc.
d) study the micro interactions in technology and production transfer, e.g. Dutch businessmen traveling to China to set up a factories. What was their motive? What about technology transfer?
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