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Private and Public Enterprise in Europe Energy, Telecommunications and Transport, 1830-1990 by Robert (University of Manchester) Millward

Private and Public Enterprise in Europe Energy, Telecommunications and Transport, 1830-1990

Part of the Cambridge Studies in Economic History: Second Series Series


Private and Public Enterprise in Europe Energy, Telecommunications and Transport, 1830-1990 by Robert (University of Manchester) Millward

This 2005 book is a comparative history of the economic organisation of energy, telecommunications and transport in Europe in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It examines the role that private and public enterprise have played in the construction and operation of the railways, electricity, gas and water supply, tramways, coal, oil and natural gas industries, telegraph, telephone, computer networks and other modern telecommunications. The book begins with the arrival of the railways in the 1830s, charts the development of arms' length regulation, municipalisation and nationalisation, and ends on the eve of privatisation in the 1980s. Robert Millward argues that the role of ideology, especially in the form of debates about socialism and capitalism, has been exaggerated. Instead the driving forces in changes in economic organisation were economic and technological factors and the book traces their influence in shaping the pattern of regulation and ownership of these key sectors of modern economies.


Review of the hardback: 'This is a riveting, wide-ranging analysis of the development of these technologically driven industries which is absolutely vital reading for historians of this period. It is interdisciplinary, internationally comparative and also easy to read. In many ways it makes an excellent companion volume to Millward's much earlier economics text Public Expenditure Economics (1971) and could, along with other texts such as Oz Shy's The Economics of Network Industries, provide the basis for a chronologically long, internationally wide-ranging and economically stimulating course on the international development of network industries.
Economic History Review Review of the hardback:

'In this remarkable book Robert Millward has produced a comprehensive economic history of the regulation of energy, telecommunications and transport in Western Europe between 1830 and 1990. By focusing on the 'infrastructure industries', Millward makes a major contribution to cross-European economic history, and his book will serve as a benchmark against which future comparative research should be measured. Millward demonstrates that the origins of government ownership and regulation date back well into the nineteenth century. ... will doubtless act as a valuable data source for researchers.'
Urban History Review of the hardback:

This book is a welcome work of synthesis. A volume in the Cambridge Studies in Economic History, it seeks to chart the development of the major elements in Europe
's utilities sector - energy, telecommunications and transport - over the period from the arrival of the railways in the 1830's to c. 1990. Of course, it is a daunting task to attempt this on the pan-European stage, and it is to Bob Millward's credit, therefore, that he has produced an authoritative and, in many ways, innovative effort. ... an important book which, drawing on a wide range of scholarship with a clarity of presentation, will be required reading for all interested in the development of Europe's utilities since the onset of industrialization.

Business History

About the Author

Robert Millward is Professor of Economic History at the University of Manchester. His previous publications include Public and Private Ownership of British Industry 1820-1990 (1994) and The Political Economy of Nationalism in Britain 1920-50 (1995).

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Book Info

Publication date

10th July 2008


Robert (University of Manchester) Millward

More books by Robert (University of Manchester) Millward
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Cambridge University Press


372 pages


Economic history



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