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Giffen behaviour in Irish famine markets: an empirical study

There has been much contention among economists as to whether the potato in Irish markets during the Famine period is an example of a ‘Giffen’ good, but no price and quantity data from Ireland’s famine period has previously been unearthed to enable this to be systematically tested. Analysing high frequency price and quantity data for potatoes, wheat, barley, oats, and bacon pigs, collected from Cork market reports between 1842-49, this paper presents initial results which indicate that whilst potatoes, wheat, barley, and oats display normal characteristics during this period, the Cork markets for bacon pigs display some characteristics associated with Giffen-style behaviour. Further econometric analysis of the famine bacon pig market may therefore shed light upon the ‘Giffen’ phenomenon as well as market behaviour during famines.

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Paper provided by Department of Economic and Social History at the University of Cambridge in its series Working Papers with number 15.

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Length: 16 pages
Date of creation: 03 May 2013
Publication status: Published in Cambridge Working Paper in Economic & Social History, No. 15
Handle: RePEc:cmh:wpaper:15
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