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A Price Index for Rural Massachusetts, 1750–1855


  • Rothenberg, Winifred B.


Students of agricultural history, of pre-industrial labor productivity, of New England town histories, and, especially, of pre-1840 rates of economic growth have long needed a price index of Massachusetts farm prices for this period. The article presents two indexes, covering 15 farm products, weighted by their relative importance, first in 1800, then in 1855. Among the several issues raised by the behavior of farm prices between 1750 and 1855, one of the most interesting may be what this behavior reveals about the market imbeddedness of these farmers, particularly in view of the fact that the prices come, not from market quotations, but from farm account books.

Suggested Citation

  • Rothenberg, Winifred B., 1979. "A Price Index for Rural Massachusetts, 1750–1855," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 39(4), pages 975-1001, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:39:y:1979:i:04:p:975-1001_09

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    Cited by:

    1. Winifred Rothenberg, 1992. "The Productivity Consequences of Market Integration: Agriculture in Massachusetts, 1771-1801," NBER Chapters, in: American Economic Growth and Standards of Living before the Civil War, pages 311-344, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Komlos, John, 2019. "Shrinking in a growing economy is not so puzzling after all," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 40-55.
    3. Wang, Ta-Chen, 2008. "Paying back to borrow more: Reputation and bank credit access in early America," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 45(4), pages 477-488, September.
    4. Vincent Geloso, 2019. "A price index for Canada, 1688 to 1850," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 52(2), pages 526-560, May.
    5. Komlos, John & A’Hearn, Brian, 2017. "Hidden negative aspects of industrialization at the onset of modern economic growth in the U.S," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 43-52.
    6. Brian A'Hearn & John Komlos, 2015. "The Decline in the Nutritional Status of the U.S. Antebellum Population at the Onset of Modern Economic Growth," CESifo Working Paper Series 5691, CESifo.
    7. Jeremy Land & Vincent Geloso, 2020. "Colonial Military Garrisons as Labor‐Market Shocks: Quebec City and Boston, 1760–1775," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 101(4), pages 1326-1344, July.
    8. Vincent J. Geloso, 2019. "Distinct within North America: living standards in French Canada, 1688–1775," Cliometrica, Springer;Cliometric Society (Association Francaise de Cliométrie), vol. 13(2), pages 277-321, May.

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