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From Market-Places to a Market Economy


  • Rothenberg, Winifred Barr


In this highly original empirical study, Winifred Barr Rothenberg documents the emergence of a market economy in rural Massachusetts between 1785 and 1800—decades before America's first industrial revolution. Drawing the data from exhaustive research in farm account books, probate documents, and town tax valuations the author makes a significant contribution to the long-standing and vigorous debate about the pace, pattern, and genesis of growth in the early American economy. Rothenberg forcefully disputes recent historical interpretations of the preindustrial New England village as a so-called moral economy, insulated from the exigencies of the market. She discovers the simultaneous emergence of markets for farm produce, farm labor, and rural capital. Then, linking market integration to labor productivity growth and agricultural improvement, she confirms that market-led growth in Massachusetts agriculture lay at the origins of the American industrial revolution.

Suggested Citation

  • Rothenberg, Winifred Barr, 1992. "From Market-Places to a Market Economy," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226729534, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:bkecon:9780226729534

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    Cited by:

    1. Maja Uhre Pedersen & Vincent Geloso & Paul Sharp, 2020. "Globalization and Empire: Market integration and international trade between Canada, the United States and Britain, 1750-1870," Working Papers 0204, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    2. Robert E. Wright, 2014. "The Pivotal Role of Private Enterprise in America's Transportation Age 1790–1860," Journal of Private Enterprise, The Association of Private Enterprise Education, vol. 29(Spring 20), pages 1-20.
    3. Eric Hilt & Jacqueline Valentine, 2011. "Democratic Dividends: Stockholding, Wealth and Politics in New York, 1791-1826," NBER Working Papers 17147, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Daniel Vickers, 2010. "Errors expected: the culture of credit in rural New England, 1750–1800," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 63(4), pages 1032-1057, November.
    5. John Murray, 2000. "Communal Viability and Employment of Non-Member Labor: Testing Hypotheses with Historical Data," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 58(1), pages 1-16.
    6. Elizabeth Caucutt & Thomas Cooley & Nezih Guner, 2013. "The farm, the city, and the emergence of social security," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 18(1), pages 1-32, March.
    7. Rosenbloom, Joshua L. & Weiss, Thomas, 2014. "Economic growth in the Mid-Atlantic region: Conjectural estimates for 1720 to 1800," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 41-59.
    8. Rousseau, Peter L. & Stroup, Caleb, 2011. "Monetization and growth in colonial New England, 1703–1749," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 48(4), pages 600-613.
    9. Bryer, Rob, 2012. "Americanism and financial accounting theory – Part 1: Was America born capitalist?," CRITICAL PERSPECTIVES ON ACCOUNTING, Elsevier, vol. 23(7), pages 511-555.
    10. Gervais, Pierre, 2014. "Early modern merchant strategies and the historicization of market practices," economic sociology. perspectives and conversations, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, vol. 15(3), pages 19-29.
    11. Robert E. Wright, 2010. "Rise of the Corporation Nation," NBER Chapters, in: Founding Choices: American Economic Policy in the 1790s, pages 217-258, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Joyce Burnette, 2006. "How skilled were English agricultural labourers in the early nineteenth century?1," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 59(4), pages 688-716, November.
    13. Robert A. Margo, 1999. "The History of Wage Inequality in America, 1820 to 1970," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_286, Levy Economics Institute.
    14. Jordi Planas & Enric Saguer, 2005. "Accounting records of large rural estates and the dynamics of agriculture in Catalonia (Spain), 1850-1950," Accounting History Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(2), pages 171-185.
    15. Sukkoo Kim, 2007. "Institutions and U.S. Regional Development: A Study of Massachusetts and Virginia," NBER Working Papers 13431, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Matt A. Nelson, 2020. "The decline of patrilineal kin propinquity in the United States, 1790–1940," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 43(18), pages 501-532.
    17. Robert A. Margo, 2000. "The History of Wage Inequality in America, 1920 to 1970," Macroeconomics 0004035, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    18. Robert A. Margo, 2002. "The North-South Wage Gap, Before and After the Civil War," NBER Working Papers 8778, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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