Coal and the European Industrial Revolution

Alan Fernihough, Kevin Hjortshøj O'Rourke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To what extent did growth during the Industrial Revolution depend on coal? We answer the question using a panel of European city sizes between 1300 and 1900. Prior to 1750, there was no relationship between proximity to coalfields and growth; after 1750 cities closer to coalfields grew substantially faster than those further away. We instrument for coal proximity using proximity to Carboniferous-era rock strata.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1135-1149
Number of pages15
JournalEconomic Journal
Issue number635
StatePublished - Apr 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics


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