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The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth: the English Corn Returns as a data source in economic history, 1770-1914

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  • Brunt, Liam
  • Cannon, Edmund

Abstract

From 1770 to 1914, the British Government collected weekly price and quantity data for all types of grain traded in many market towns; these ‘Corn Returns’ were published in the London Gazette. We computerised the data published 1770-1864, totalling around 6 million data points. Here we describe the nature of these data; discuss why, when and how they were collected; consider their accuracy and biases; describe how we computerised them; and offer caveats in using these – and similar – data. We highlight the problem of drawing valid inferences in the face of price impact from fluctuating grain quality and rising imports.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 9515.

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Date of creation: Jun 2013
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9515

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Keywords: data collection; markets;

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References

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  1. S. Fairlie, 1965. "The Nineteenth-Century Corn Law Reconsidered," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 18(3), pages 562-575, December.
  2. Jacks, David S., 2011. "Foreign wars, domestic markets: England, 1793–1815," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(02), pages 277-311, August.
  3. Carol H. Shiue & Wolfgang Keller, 2007. "Markets in China and Europe on the Eve of the Industrial Revolution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1189-1216, September.
  4. Feinstein, Charles H., 1998. "Pessimism Perpetuated: Real Wages and the Standard of Living in Britain during and after the Industrial Revolution," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 58(03), pages 625-658, September.
  5. Wray Vamplew, 1981. "Tithes and Agriculture: Some Comments on Commutation," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 34(1), pages 115-119, 02.
  6. Gregory Clark, 2001. "Farm Wages and Living Standards in the Industrial Revolution: England,1670–1869[This resea]," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 54(3), pages 477-505, 08.
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Cited by:
  1. Brunt, Liam & Cannon, Edmund, 2013. "Integration in the English wheat market 1770-1820," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 12/2013, Department of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics.

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