The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd


  • Sheilagh Ogilvie
Reference work entry


‘Proto-industrialization’ is the name given to the massive expansion of export-oriented handicrafts which took place in many parts of Europe between the 16th and the 19th centuries. An influential theory holds that these proto-industries generated the capital, labour, entrepreneurship, agricultural commercialization, and consumer demand needed for factory industrialization. Protoindustrialization, it is argued, also transformed traditional economic mentalities and institutions. However, deeper empirical study has cast doubt on most of these claims. Theories of protoindustrialization have stimulated much excellent research, but do not explain the significant economic growth, demographic change, and institutional transformation that occurred in Europe before the Industrial Revolution.


Agriculture Fertility Industrial revolution Industrialization Nuptiality Population growth Protoindustrialization Putting-out system Surplus labour Urbanization Workshop system 

JEL Classifications

N50 N01 N33 N53 N63 N73 N93 
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Authors and Affiliations

  • Sheilagh Ogilvie
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