Who benefited from industrialization? The local effects of hydropower technology adoption in Norway
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionThe Journal of Economic History, Vol. 80, No. 1 (March 2020) https://doi.org/10.1017/S0022050719000743
This paper studies the impact of the construction of hydropower facilities on labor market outcomes in Norway at the turn of the twentieth century (1891–1920). The sudden breakthrough in hydropower technology provides a quasi-experimental setting, as not all municipalities had suitable natural endowments and the possible production sites were often located in remote areas. We find that hydropower municipalities experienced faster structural transformation and displayed higher occupational mobility. We interpret this as evidence that this early twentieth-century technology was skill biased, as workers in the new skilled jobs were recruited from a broad segment of the population.