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Adam Smith (1776):

No equal capital puts into motion a greater quantity of productive labour than that of the farmer.

After agriculture, the capital employed in manufactures puts into motion the greatest quantity of productive labour, and adds the greatest value to the annual produce. That which is employed in the trade of exportation, has the least effect of any of the three.

In modern language, we might write the above as

$$MPK_{\text{Agriculture}}>MPK_{\text{Manufacturing}}>MPK_{\text{Trade}}.$$

Has there been any research proving/disproving the above assertion (in the context of 18th-century Britain)?

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  • $\begingroup$ It seems plausible if you count the value of land in agricultural capital $\endgroup$ – Henry Jun 23 at 10:21

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