Journal of Evolutionary Economics

, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 177–205 | Cite as

Comparing evolutionary dynamics across different national settings: the case of the synthetic dye industry, 1857–1914

  • Johann Peter Murmann
  • Ernst Homburg
Special Feature


Current models of industry evolution suggest that development patterns should be the same across different levels of analysis. In comparing the evolution of the synthetic dye industry at the global level and in the five major producer countries before World War I (Britain, Germany, France, Switzerland and the United States), it is shown that patterns of industry evolution differed significantly across national contexts. Based on a quantitative and qualitative database of all firms and plants in the industry, the paper analyzes how German firms came to dominate the industry and identifies factors such as availabilities of crucial skills, economies of scale and scope, and positive feedback mechanisms between firms and national institutions that likely produced these national differences. The empirical analysis calls for formal models of evolution that incorporate differences in institutional environments.

Key words: Comparative industry evolution – Institutional analysis – Technological innovation – Longitudinal dataset of firms and plants 
JEL classification: L10, O30 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johann Peter Murmann
    • 1
  • Ernst Homburg
    • 2
  1. 1.Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208, USA (e-mail: US
  2. 2.Department of History, University of Maastricht, P.O. Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands (e-mail: NL

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