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India and the Great Divergence: Assessing the Efficiency of Grain Markets in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century India

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  • Roman Studer

    (Nuffield College, Oxford)

Abstract

By analysing a newly compiled data base of grain prices, this article finds that prior to the nineteenth century the grain trade in India was essentially local, while more distant markets remained fragmented. It was only in the second half of the nineteenth century that market integration accelerated, so that by the end of the century a national grain market had emerged. The paper also contributes to the comparative great divergence debate, in that it rejects, for India, the claim of the California School of ‘Asia’ having reached a similar stage of economic development as Europe before the late eighteenth or early nineteenth century. In a larger context, this contribution can thus be seen as part of the larger counterrevolution against the iconoclasm of the California School.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford in its series Oxford University Economic and Social History Series with number _068.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: 02 May 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nuf:esohwp:_068

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Web page: http://www.nuff.ox.ac.uk/economics/

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  1. 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.
  2. Dobado, Rafael & Marrero, Gustavo A., 2005. "Corn Market Integration in Porfirian Mexico," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 65(01), pages 103-128, March.
  3. O Rourke, Kevin H. & Williamson, Jeffrey G., 2002. "When did globalisation begin?," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(01), pages 23-50, April.
  4. Mette Ejrnæs & Karl Gunnar Persson & Søren Rich, 2004. "Feeding the British: Convergence and Market Efficiency in 19th Century Grain Trade," Discussion Papers 04-28, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  5. Broadberry, Stephen N & Gupta, Bishnupriya, 2005. "The Early Modern Great Divergence: Wages, Prices and Economic Development in Europe and Asia, 1500-1800," CEPR Discussion Papers 4947, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Gr da, Cormac & Chevet, Jean-Michel, 2002. "Famine And Market In Ancien R Gime France," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 62(03), pages 706-733, September.
  7. Roy, Tirthankar, 2011. "Economic History of India, 1857-1947," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, edition 3, number 9780198074175, September.
  8. David Clingingsmith & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2005. "Mughal Decline, Climate Change, and Britain’s Industrial Ascent:An Integrated Perspective on India’s 18th and 19th Century Deindustrialization," Working Papers id:241, eSocialSciences.
  9. Jacks, David S., 2005. "Intra- and international commodity market integration in the Atlantic economy, 1800-1913," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 381-413, July.
  10. Metzer, Jacob, 1974. "Railroad Development and Market Integration: The Case of Tsarist Russia," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 34(03), pages 529-550, September.
  11. Allen, Robert C. & Bengtsson, Tommy & Dribe, Martin (ed.), 2005. "Living Standards in the Past: New Perspectives on Well-Being in Asia and Europe," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199280681, September.
  12. Robert C. Allen, 2009. "Agricultural productivity and rural incomes in England and the Yangtze Delta, c.1620-c.1820 -super-1," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 62(3), pages 525-550, 08.
  13. Robert Allen & Robert C. Allen, 2007. "Wages, Prices, and Living Standards in China, Japan, and Europe, 1738-1925," Economics Series Working Papers 316, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
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Cited by:
  1. Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2010. "Latin American Growth-Inequality Trade-Offs: The Impact of Insurgence and Independence," NBER Working Papers 15680, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Andrabi, Tahir & Kuehlwein, Michael, 2010. "Railways and Price Convergence in British India," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 70(02), pages 351-377, June.
  3. Paul David & S. Ryan Johansson and Andrea Pozzi, 2010. "The Demography of an Early Mortality Transition: Life Expectancy, Survival and Mortality Rates for Britain's Royals, 1500-1799," Economics Series Working Papers Number 83, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  4. David Chilosi & Tommy E. Murphy & Roman Studer, 2011. "Europe’s Many Integrations: Geography and Grain Markets, 1620-1913," Working Papers 412, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  5. Robert Allen, 2013. "American Exceptionalism as a Problem in Global History," Economics Series Working Papers 689, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  6. Williamson, Jeffrey G., 2009. "History without evidence: Latin American inequality since 1491," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 81, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
  7. 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.
  8. Stefan Mann & Henry Wüstemann, 2010. "Efficiency and utility: an evolutionary perspective," International Journal of Social Economics, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 37(9), pages 676-685, September.
  9. Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2009. "Five Centuries of Latin American Inequality," NBER Working Papers 15305, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Marks, Daan, 2010. "Unity or diversity? On the integration and efficiency of rice markets in Indonesia, c. 1920-2006," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 310-324, July.
  11. David Chilosi & Oliver Volckart, 2009. "Money, states and empire: financial integration cycles and institutional change in Central Europe, 1400-1520," Economic History Working Papers 27884, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
  12. Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2009. "History without Evidence: Latin American Inequality since 1491," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 3, Courant Research Centre PEG.
  13. Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2009. "History without Evidence: Latin American Inequality since 1491," NBER Working Papers 14766, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Robartus J. van der Spek & Bas van Leeuwen, 2013. "Quantifying the integration of the Babylonian economy in the Mediterranean world using a new corpus of price data, 400-50 BC," Working Papers 0047, Utrecht University, Centre for Global Economic History.
  15. Williamson, Jeffrey G., 2009. "History without evidence: Latin American inequality since 1491," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 81, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.

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