Christian Venneslan, “Electrification and industrialisation: An assessment of the industrial breakthrough in Norway”, Scandinavian Economic History Review, Vol. 57, No. 2, 2009 , 124 – 155


“The article relates the ‘industrial breakthrough’ in Norway to the introduction of electricity in manufacturing production. Viewing electricity as a General Purpose Technology (GPT), the new device fostered advances across a broad spectrum of sectors. Several other key technologies (e.g., within chemical industries) also played their part. However, in Norway, electricity took an extraordinarily strong position. By presenting quantitative evidence of the electrification process, and relating it to annual estimates of employment, productivity and value added between 1896 and 1920, it is shown that the manufacturing sector was too small to form a ‘breakthrough’ before the turn of the century. It was not until the widespread introduction of electricity and electric motors gained some momentum in the first decades of the twentieth century that the economy become really industrialised.”

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