New publication Economic History Review on female textile workers in colonial Java online (first view).

Recently, the Economic History Review has published (online first view) my article on female textile workers in colonial Java. The article explores the impact of Dutch colonial policies and trade on the textile industry in Java between circa 1830 and 1920. It is argued that many of the theoretical assumptions underlying the deindustrialization thesis fail to hold for colonial Java. Empirical observations suggest that its indigenous textile industry was far more resilient than many contemporaries and historians have contended, and suffered less from Dutch imports in this period than previously thought. While it is true that Dutch factories were able to produce more efficiently in terms of capital intensity and mechanization, the close-to-zero opportunity cost for Javanese female labour in certain periods of the year continued to offer a firm basis for a labour-intensive path of industrialization. Moreover, it is argued that specific local traditions of cloth production persisted because they were still strongly demanded by growing numbers of indigenous consumers. Whereas these products may have been more expensive than many imported goods, they were also of higher quality. Finally, it is argued that it was not so much international trade that constituted the resilience of indigenous textile production, but rather the growth of internal markets. In the nineteenth century, colonial Indonesia, and Java in particular, experienced significant population growth as well as monetization of the economy and infrastructural development. Combined, these factors facilitated regional specialization of indigenous textile production—most notably in west and central Java—which was geared towards indigenous tastes in cloth.

You can find the article here:

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