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

  • STUDER, ROMAN

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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Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal The Journal of Economic History.

Volume (Year): 68 (2008)
Issue (Month): 02 (June)
Pages: 393-437

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Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:68:y:2008:i:02:p:393-437_00
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  1. 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.
  2. Kevin H. O'Rourke & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2000. "When Did Globalization Begin?," NBER Working Papers 7632, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Deepak Lal & Dietmar Rothermund & Erich Weede, 2004. "India," Chapters, in: Political Competition, Innovation and Growth in the History of Asian Civilizations, chapter 6 Edward Elgar.
  8. 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.
  9. Roy, Tirthankar, 2011. "Economic History of India, 1857-1947," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, edition 3, number 9780198074175, March.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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, March.
  14. 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.
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