Bogart, Dunn, Alvarez-Palau, Shaw-Taylor, and Easton for Speedier Delivery: coastal shipping times and speeds during the Age of Sail

Resource Type
Dataset : administrative records data
  • Bogart, Dan (University of California-Irvine)
  • Dunn, Oliver (University of Cambridge)
  • Alvarez-Palau, Eduard (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya)
  • Shaw-Taylor, Leigh (University of Cambridge)
  • Easton, Callum (University of Cambridge)
Publication Date
Funding Reference
  • Leverhulme Trust (United Kingdom)
    • Award Number: RPG-2013-093
  • National Science Foundation
    • Award Number: SES-1260699
Free Keywords
[industrialization; , shipping; , coastal trade; , productivity; ]
  • Abstract

    The datasets and replication kit in this project are associated with the research paper, 'Speedier delivery: coastal shipping times and speeds during the Age of Sail' authored by Bogart, Dan , Dunn, Oliver , Alvarez-Palau, Eduard J., and Shaw-Taylor, Leigh. It was accepted for publication in the Economic History Review (EcHR) on April 2020. The EcHR has a new data deposit and replication policy concerning published papers. While we technically do not need to comply as a our paper was submitted before the rule was established, we are nonetheless providing this data file so our results can be replicated.
    Here is the abstract for Speedier delivery:
    There is a debate about whether coastal shipping experienced substantial productivity growth prior to the advent of steam power. To study changes over the long eighteenth century, we use thousands of coastal journey times culled from Board of Trade crew lists between 1835 and 1844 and coastal port books in the mid to late 1600s, along with a newly digitized coastal network in GIS. Comparisons between matched samples show that journey speeds, defined as miles sailed per day, were significantly higher in the crew lists compared to the port books and voyage cycle times, defined as days between starting two identical voyages, were substantially lower. We also show voyage times in the east coast coal trade were substantially lower around 1840 than around 1700, but the difference was much smaller when peace years are compared. Our new data imply that total factor productivity growth in the east coast coal trade was significant, especially if one accounts for gains from peace after 1815. The findings contribute to the larger literature studying the rate and sources of productivity growth during the industrial revolution.

    The authors of the datasets and replication kit are the same as the authors of the paper with the addition of Callum Easton, who provided valuable data on voyage times using data from St. Paul's coal duty. A reference to Easton's research using St. Paul's can be found in the published paper, Speedier Delivery.

Temporal Coverage
  • 1651-01-01 / 1844-12-01
    Time Period: Sun Jan 01 00:00:00 EST 1651--Sun Dec 01 00:00:00 EST 1844 (Mid-17th century to mid-19th century)
  • 2015-01-01 / 2018-12-31
    Collection Date(s): Thu Jan 01 00:00:00 EST 2015--Mon Dec 31 00:00:00 EST 2018
Geographic Coverage
  • England and Wales
Sampled Universe
The data include shipping times and speeds between ports in England and Wales. The units are journeys times in days from port A to B. Also voyage cycle times covering the time for all stages of a voyage between the same two ports, specifically sailing from port A to B, unload at B, sail port B to A, unload at A, and finally sail again from port A to B. The journey times and speeds are also linked with a date of departure.
The original data are drawn from two sources: crew lists and port books. Crew lists are arranged by the registration port for the ship. The ships are arranged alphabetically according to ship name. We drew the first ten lists in each port, which means we have samples of ships with names starting with A, B, and sometimes C. We think this approximates a random sample.
The port book data is sampled based on surviving records from the mid-17th century. See the text of the paper for more details.
  • Bogart, Dan, Oliver Dunn, Eduard Alvarez-Palau, and Leigh Shaw-Taylor. “Speedier Delivery: Coastal Shipping Times and Speeds during the Age of Sail.” Economic History Review, n.d.

Update Metadata: 2020-07-06 | Issue Number: 1 | Registration Date: 2020-07-06