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Building an annual series of English wheat production in an intriguing era (1645-1761): methodology, challenges and results

Author

Listed:
  • José L. Martínez-González

    (Universitat de Barcelona)

  • Gabriel Jover-Avellà

    (Universitat de Girona)

  • Enric Tello

    (Universitat de Barcelona)

Abstract

This article presents a method for estimating an annual series of English wheat production in physical units during the intriguing period of 1645-1761, when the English Agricultural Revolution began. It is based on Davenant’s Law and the assumption of a decrease in long-term crop variability, taking into account the yields obtained from probate inventories and farm accounts. The exercise confirms the idea that the King-Davenant accounting of the inverse variation of prices and quantities through price elasticity was indeed a common rule at that time, whereas income elasticity did not become a decisive factor until the mid-18th century. From then on it gained momentum, as can be observed by lengthening the series until 1884. The new series of English wheat production presented here also shows that, from a physical and environmental perspective, the Agricultural Revolution began before 1750 and resumed after 1800. The results are consistent with recent estimates of agricultural GDP put forward in the literature on English economic history.

Suggested Citation

  • José L. Martínez-González & Gabriel Jover-Avellà & Enric Tello, 2019. "Building an annual series of English wheat production in an intriguing era (1645-1761): methodology, challenges and results," Historia Agraria. Revista de Agricultura e Historia Rural, Sociedad Española de Historia Agraria, issue 79, pages 41-69, december.
  • Handle: RePEc:seh:journl:y:2019:i:79:m:december:p:41-69
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    wheat production; England; Davenant’s Law; agricultural revolution;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • N50 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • N53 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • Q11 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Aggregate Supply and Demand Analysis; Prices
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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