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The history behind the modern German economic giant

08 October 2020 - In October 2020, the book by the two economic historians Richard H. Tilly and Michael Kopsidis "From Old Regime to Industrial State. A History of German Industrialization from the Eighteenth Century to World War I" was published by the University of Chicago Press.

In their book, the two authors analyze German industrialization as a much longer, historically more deeply rooted process than previously assumed, without however denying phases of accelerated development and cumulative breakthroughs in the 19th century. Only such a long-term perspective, at least going back to the 18th century, makes it possible to adequately grasp the role of demographic-economic processes, market and domestic state-building in the transition to modern growth. The focus here is on explaining regional differences in agricultural and, above all, industrial innovative capacity, which also includes the divergent development of private and state institutions. A further important finding of the book is that the one, specifically German, model of industrialization did not exist in this form. Rather, there were phases that were characterized by very different driving forces of economic modernization. The closest thing to a “German industrialization model” is the successful combination of intensified education or human capital formation with technological progress, which enabled Germany to catch up with the leading economic nations from the second half of the 19th century onwards. This catching-up process in all its facets is another focus of the book. In summary, Tilly and Kopsidis provide the story behind Germany's rise to become one of the world's leading economies.

Tilly, Richard H.; Kopsidis, Michael (2020) From Old Regime to Industrial State: A History of German Industrialization from the Eighteenth Century to World War I (Markets and Governments in Economic History).University of Chicago Press.