I am particularly interested in the economic divergence between Europe and Asia. My research considers global economic relations, trade and industry in early modern period and in the nineteenth century. It considers the role of institutions, organisation and political economy for creating conditions for entrepreneurship and business activity. I draw on business, economic history, and development methodologies and rely on global and comparative approaches. In my doctoral research I analysed the transfer of innovative silk technologies from Piedmont in Italy to Bengal. This was a major – and one of the few eighteenth-century – transfers of technology from Europe to Asia.
The British Silk Connection: The English East India Company’s Silk Enterprise in Bengal, 1750-1850
I am currently working on a monograph, The British Silk Connection: The English East India Company’s Silk Enterprise in Bengal, 1750s-1850s. The book examines the East India Company’s business model of silk manufacturing during the mercantilist era and after the introduction of laissez-faire policies in the nineteenth century. I explore this colonial project from the point of view of the organisation and management, of technology, political economy, and the connections between the British, Bengal and Piedmontese silk industries. By situating the late eighteenth- and nineteenth-century development of the Bengal silk industry within the context of the Company’s policies and British political economy, my research seeks to contribute to a new understanding of the political economy environment and of institutions conducive to development.
Besides the monograph I have published two articles focusing on a microeconomic analysis of the problems faced by the Company in Bengal silk manufacturing. My article for Business History points to the fact that technology transfers often failed because institutional adaptations were neglected as attention was paid only to technical and commercial adaptations. My article in Enterprise & Society explores why firms centralise production and considers the various factors that determine the success and failure of technology transfers.
“Technology Transfers and Organisation: The English East India Company and the Transfer of Piedmontese Silk Reeling Technology to Bengal, 1750s – 1790s”, Enterprise & Society, forthcoming, available online.
A Global Transfer of Silk Reeling Technologies: The English East India Company and the Bengal Silk Industry, in Luca Molà and Dagmar Schäfer (eds.), Threads of Global Desire: Silk in the Early Modern World (Pasold Research Fund, forthcoming 2018).
EH482 Premodern Paths of Growth: East and West Compared, 1100-1900
EH483 The Development and Integration of the World Economy in the 19th and 20th Centuries
View Dr Hutkova's CV here [PDF]