France not behind Britain as measured by labour productivity in industry, French lag in agriculture is explained in terms of quantity and quality of land per workers.
Problems with their evidence
Time series used with cross-sectional analysis only with greatest of care British figures from a single source - far superior to French data taken from a variety of sources - Marczewski - insolvable problem of estimating industrial output cottage industry his and O'Brien-Keyder's result that French industry was two and one half to three times as productive as Britain's in 1780s is incredible use Corzent and even he say English industry had clear superiority
Quantity of land
More land per worker - reflect not better endowment but ability to get labour off the land i.e. more efficient organisation quality physiological tests are insufficient neglects sunshine
TRANSFER PATTERNS OF BRITISH TECHNOLOGY TO THE CONTINENT: THE CASE OF THE IRON INDUSTRY
British iron industry 100 years. Transform small high cost producer in early 18th century to leading supplier of iron products for world market charcoal to coal - slow process transfer to Belgium, France and Germany - British iron exports embodying new technology Belgium and France protective walls new ironworks imitated British model - trad. Ironworks succeed only integrating some techniques (puddling) new ironworks use modern fuel saving techniques - old and new coexisted for a long time demand low quality iron on continent made British-type ironworks profitable from 1860 coal iron producer in eve better qualities left only niches for high quality charcoal iron.
Path-breaking event in the history of mankind transition from techniques using vegetable fuel to techniques using mineral fuel. innovation iron sector highly important.