The Impact of Public Mechanical Clocks on Economic Growth

Lars Boerner, Battista Severgnini

Research output: Other contributionNet publication - Internet publicationCommunication


The public mechanical clock, which first appeared in European cities in the late 13th century, was one of the most important innovations in history. This column looks at the impact on growth of the arrival of this general purpose technology. European cities that were quick to install mechanical clocks enjoyed greater growth than late adopters. However, it takes some time for the effects from fundamental innovations of this type to be realised because the technology must be accepted both culturally and socially and then applied to related economic activities.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date10 Oct 2016
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherCentre for Economic Policy Research
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2016


  • Mechanical clock
  • General purpose technology
  • Growth
  • Innovation

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