Contra Ricardo: On the macroeconomics of pre-industrial economies
AbstractThe Ricardian model that inspires the conventional account of pre-industrial economic history assumes that productive opportunities are fully exploited, and that economic growth and fluctuations reflect the interaction of technological improvement, diminishing returns to labour and capital, and homeostatic demographic responses to changes in per capita income. This article argues that the long swings in output and productivity were the consequence of endogenous variation in trading costs affecting the profitability of undertaking specialised investment in market production. Because its markets were often thin , the pre-industrial economy possessed latent reserves of productivity that were not fully exploited. A search-equilibrium model is developed to demonstrate how such an economy could experience swings in output and productivity in the absence of technological or other fundamental changes. The argument is supported by evidence indicating that the level of output in the second century may have approached that of the early eighteenth century. For those who care for the overmastering pattern, the elements are evidently there for a heroically simplified version of English history before the nineteenth century in which long-term movements in prices, in income distribution, in investment, in real wages, and in migration are dominated by changes in the growth of population . H. J. Habakkuk (1958). We may say broadly that while the part which nature plays in production shows a tendency to diminishing return, the part which man plays shows a tendency to increasing return . Alfred Marshall.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal European Review of Economic History.
Volume (Year): 3 (1999)
Issue (Month): 02 (August)
Contact details of provider:
Postal: The Edinburgh Building, Shaftesbury Road, Cambridge CB2 2RU UK
Fax: +44 (0)1223 325150
Web page: http://journals.cambridge.org/jid_EREProvider-Email:email@example.com
You can help add them by filling out this form.
CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
- Michael Kopsidis & Nikolaus Wolf, 2012.
"Agricultural Productivity Across Prussia During the Industrial Revolution: A ThŸnen Perspective,"
0013, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
- Kopsidis, Michael & Wolf, Nikolaus, 2012. "Agricultural Productivity Across Prussia During the Industrial Revolution: A Thünen Perspective," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 72(03), pages 634-670, September.
- Nicolini, Esteban A., 2007.
"Was Malthus right? A VAR analysis of economic and demographic interactions in pre-industrial England,"
European Review of Economic History,
Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(01), pages 99-121, April.
- Esteban A. Nicolini, 2006. "Was Malthus Right? A Var Analysis Of Economic And Demographic Interactions In Pre-Industrial England," Working Papers in Economic History wh060601, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Historia Económica e Instituciones.
- Nicolini, Esteban A., . "Was malthus right? a var analysis of economic and demographic interactions in pre-industrial England," Open Access publications from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid info:hdl:10016/420, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid.
- Michael Kopsidis, 2012. "Peasant Agriculture and Economic Growth: The Case of Southeast Europe c. 1870-1940 reinterpreted," Working Papers 0028, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
- Mark Koyama, 2009.
"The Price of Time and Labour Supply: From the Black Death to the Industrious Revolution,"
Economics Series Working Papers
Number 78, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
- Mark Koyama, 2009. "The Price of Time and Labour Supply: From the Black Death to the Industrious Revolution," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _078, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
- Gonçalo Monteiro & Alvaro S. Pereira, 2006. "From Growth Spurts to Sustained Growth: The Nature of Growth and Unified Growth Theory," DEGIT Conference Papers c011_004, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
- Michael Kopsidis & Ulrich Pfister, 2013. "Agricultural development during early industrialization in a low-wage economy: Saxony, c. 1790-1830," Working Papers 0039, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
- Gonçola Monteiro & Alvaro Pereira, 2006. "From Growth Spurts to Sustained Growth," Discussion Papers 06/24, Department of Economics, University of York.
- Koyama, Mark, 2012. "The transformation of labor supply in the pre-industrial world," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 505-523.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Keith Waters).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.