What'S Space Got To Do With It? Distance And Agricultural Productivity Before The Railway Age
AbstractOwing to the high cost of transporting farm produce before the railway age, the land-intensiveness of European mixed farming caused both production and consumption of foodstuffs and intermediate farm inputs in the steady state to be highly dispersed, a spatial configuration offering weak inducement to reorganize farm structure or to invest available labour and capital with a view to increasing output. In such conditions the most common cause of rising agricultural productivity was spatial concentration of demand, which raised the demand price of farm produce and farm inputs within the privileged space bounded by discontinuities in the cost of land transport. The ultimate cause of observed changes in agricultural productivity before the nineteenth century must therefore be sought outside the farming sector in the development of markets for tradable manufactures, tradable services, and the economies of scale in their provision that supported spatial concentration of population.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by McGill University, Department of Economics in its series Departmental Working Papers with number 2007-10.
Length: 50 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2007
Date of revision:
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- B10 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - General
- N53 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - Europe: Pre-1913
- N74 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - Europe: 1913-
- N93 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - Europe: Pre-1913
- O18 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
- Q13 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Markets and Marketing; Cooperatives; Agribusiness
- R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)
- R14 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Land Use Patterns
- R40 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - General
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-AGR-2007-10-27 (Agricultural Economics)
- NEP-ALL-2007-10-27 (All new papers)
- NEP-EFF-2007-10-27 (Efficiency & Productivity)
- NEP-GEO-2007-10-27 (Economic Geography)
- NEP-HIS-2007-10-27 (Business, Economic & Financial History)
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