This thesis employs an international comparative perspective to empirically analyse the Czech energy transition between 1830 and 2010. It addresses the utilization of energy in shaping modern economic growth through structural and technological change and the implications
of those changes on specialization and foreign trade. New historical data is collected and utilized to investigate the impact of changing institutional settings on energy and economic growth.
Through its six papers, the thesis examines how the Czech Republic underwent substantial economic transformation, driven largely by the availability of domestic coal. Coal was important for the location of industries and led to the formation of new industrial clusters
and complementary industries. This brought about the region’s first industrialization and gave rise to far-reaching consequences for the country’s development. In the period leading up to
Second World War, energy intensity and energy-intensive patterns of trade bore a striking resemblance to the coal-rich West. Post-war institutional turmoil and the seizure of power by the Communist Party led to rapid structural change and forced Czechoslovakia off its energy transition path. The temporary increase in the country’s energy intensity during this centralplanning period was, however, far less of a systematic failure. As such, this thesis challenges the general perception of inefficiencies related to a system of central-planning, and for the first time provides quantitative evidence on the East-West divide.