David de la Croix, Matthias Doepke, Joel Mokyr, 02 March 2017

The role of specific institutions was important in giving Europe a technological advantage well before the Industrial Revolution. This column argues that apprenticeships were crucial to Europe’s rise. Unlike in the extended families or clans in other parts of the world, apprentices in Europe’s guild systems could learn from any master. New techniques and innovations could thus spread rapidly across the continent, without being constrained by family lines.

Joel Mokyr, 02 February 2017

Much has been written on why the process of modern economic growth, or ‘the Great Enrichment’, started in western Europe in the 18th century. This column, which first appeared as a chapter in a recent Vox eBook, argues that political fragmentation, coupled with an intellectual and cultural unity, a more or less integrated market for ideas, allowed Europe to benefit from the increasing return associated with intellectual activity.