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The Primary Cause of European Inflation in 1500-1700: Precious Metals or Population? The English Evidence


  • Anthony Edo


  • Jacques Melitz



We perform the first econometric test to date of the influences of inflows of precious metals and population growth on the “Great Inflation” in Europe following the discovery of the New World. The English evidence strongly supports the near-equivalent importance of both influences. For 1500-1700, silver is the only relevant precious metal in the estimates. The study controls for urbanization, government spending, mortality crises and climatic changes. The series for inflows of the precious metals into Europe from America and European mining are newly constructed based on the secondary sources.

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  • Anthony Edo & Jacques Melitz, 2019. "The Primary Cause of European Inflation in 1500-1700: Precious Metals or Population? The English Evidence," Working Papers 2019-14, Center for Research in Economics and Statistics.
  • Handle: RePEc:crs:wpaper:2019-14

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Gianfranco Tusset, 2020. "Gian Rinaldo Carli (1720-1795): Diagnosis and treatment of a monetary plague," HISTORY OF ECONOMIC THOUGHT AND POLICY, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 9(2), pages 39-65.
    2. Edvinsson, Rodney & Karlsson, Sune & Österholm, Pär, 2023. "Does Money Growth Predict Inflation? Evidence from Vector Autoregressions Using Four Centuries of Data," Working Papers 2023:3, Örebro University, School of Business.

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    More about this item


    The Great Inflation; Demography; Precious metals; European economic history 1500-1700;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • F00 - International Economics - - General - - - General
    • J10 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - General
    • N13 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913

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