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Explaining wheat yields in eighteenth-century Spain

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  • Santiago-Caballero, Carlos

Abstract

From an extensive dataset of wheat yields at municipal level in mid eighteenth-century Spain, a detailed statistical analysis indicates that the differences in wheat yields were mainly a consequence of different natural conditions, and that demand did not have a significant influence. Counterfactual exercises show that improvements in rainfall, altitude or roughness of terrain would have a significant impact on average yields. The paper concludes that, although grain markets in the mid-eighteenth century were well integrated, producers addressed the growing demand not by investing in increasing yields, but by extending the area of cultivated land using the still abundant pastures. The low grain yields in Spain were in part a consequence of the rational behaviour of producers who faced an economic environment characterized by an elastic supply of land

Suggested Citation

  • Santiago-Caballero, Carlos, 2012. "Explaining wheat yields in eighteenth-century Spain," IFCS - Working Papers in Economic History.WH wp12-05, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Instituto Figuerola.
  • Handle: RePEc:cte:whrepe:wp12-05
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Milanovic, Branko & Lindert, Peter & Williamson, Jeffrey, 2007. "Measuring Ancient Inequality," MPRA Paper 5388, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Santiago-Caballero, Carlos, 2011. "Income inequality in central Spain, 1690-1800," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 83-96, January.
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    5. Brunt, Liam, 2004. "Nature or Nurture? Explaining English Wheat Yields in the Industrial Revolution, c.1770," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 64(01), pages 193-225, March.
    6. Enrique Llopis Agelán & Miguel Jerez Méndez, 2001. "El mercado de trigo en Castilla y León, 1691-1788: arbitraje espacial e intervención," Historia Agraria. Revista de Agricultura e Historia Rural, Sociedad Española de Historia Agraria, pages 13-68.
    7. Carlos Álvarez-Nogal & Leandro Prados De La Escosura, 2013. "The rise and fall of Spain (1270–1850)," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, pages 1-37.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Yields;

    JEL classification:

    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N34 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: 1913-
    • N53 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N54 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - Europe: 1913-

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