Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Clocks and Economic Growth in the Renaissance
But is it true? Economists Lars Boerner and Battista Severgnini tried to test the theory. They did this by identifying a group of European cities that were "early adopters" of the new technology, that is, that installed their public clocks before 1450. They compared the economic growth of those cities to the late adopters. They found that over the 1500 to 1700 period the early adopting cities grew 30% more than the late adopters.
Of course there are at least a hundred ways this could be wrong, but at least they tried to measure the effect instead of just making airy assertions as so many historians have.