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Retail Ratios in the Netherlands, c. 1670 - c. 1815


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The Netherlands are thought to have pioneered an early modern 'Retail Revolution' which reduced the transaction costs of bringing market wares to wider social strata, facilitating the Consumer Revolution. This paper addresses open questions about this development using a commonly used quantitative benchmark – the 'retail ratio', defined as the number of retailers per 1,000 inhabitants. We present a large dataset of Dutch retail ratios and use them to show how the density of retailing in the Netherlands varied across space, over time, and with other local characteristics. We conclude by drawing broader implications of our findings for understanding the early modern Retail Revolution.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economic and Social History at the University of Cambridge in its series Working Papers with number 2.

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Length: 21,388 words text + tables and figures
Date of creation: 01 Jan 2012
Date of revision: 01 Jan 2012
Publication status: Published in Van den Heuvel, D. and S. Ogilvie (2013). 'Retail development in the consumer revolution: The Netherlands, c. 1670–c. 1815'. Explorations in Economic History 50(1): 69-87.
Handle: RePEc:cmh:wpaper:02

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Keywords: Retail Consumer revolution; Netherlands; Women; Guilds; Agglomeration economies; Agrarian structure;

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  1. Ogilvie,Sheilagh, 2011. "Institutions and European Trade," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521747929, October.
  2. Ogilvie, S., 2009. "Consumption, Social Capital, and the ‘Industrious Revolution’ in Early Modern Germany," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0943, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  3. Bruno Blond� & Ilja Van Damme, 2010. "Retail growth and consumer changes in a declining urban economy: Antwerp (1650-1750)," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 63(3), pages 638-663, 08.
  4. Ogilvie, Sheilagh & Edwards, Jeremy, 2000. "Women and the “Second Serfdom”: Evidence from Early Modern Bohemia," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(04), pages 961-994, December.
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Cited by:
  1. van den Heuvel, Danielle & Ogilvie, Sheilagh, 2013. "Retail development in the consumer revolution: The Netherlands, c. 1670–c. 1815," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 69-87.


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