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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

  • Liam Brunt
  • Edmund Cannon

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 computerized the data published between 1770 and 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 computerized 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. Copyright , Oxford University Press.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/ereh/het010
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Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal European Review of Economic History.

Volume (Year): 17 (2013)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
Pages: 318-339

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Handle: RePEc:oup:ereveh:v:17:y:2013:i:3:p:318-339
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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.
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  6. S. Fairlie, 1965. "The Nineteenth-Century Corn Law Reconsidered," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 18(3), pages 562-575, December.
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