Lancashire, India, and shifting competitive advantage in cotton textiles, 1700–1850: the neglected role of factor prices



In the early eighteenth century, wages in Britain were more than four times as high as in India, the world's major exporter of cotton textiles. This induced the adoption of more capital-intensive production methods in Britain and a faster rate of technological progress, so that competitive advantage had begun to shift in Britain's favour by the late eighteenth century. However, the completion of the process was delayed until after the Napoleonic Wars by increasing raw cotton costs, before supply adjusted to the major increase in demand for inputs.