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Prices and production: agricultural supply response in fourteenth‐century England

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  • Schneider, Eric B.

Abstract

This article challenges the growing consensus in the literature that medieval manorial managers were price responsive in their production decisions. Using prices of and acreages planted with wheat, barley, and oats on manors held by the bishop of Winchester from 1325 to 1370, price elasticities of supply are estimated for each grain in aggregate and on each particular manor. Aggregate price elasticities of supply for wheat, barley, and oats were rarely statistically significant and when significant were very low compared with elasticities estimated for developing and developed countries in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The low levels of agricultural supply response in fourteenth‐century England suggest that commercialization was not as dominant in the medieval economy as has been argued. Thus, structural changes in the economy, such as the leasing of demesnes, the growth of wage labour, and the end of villeinage, may have been more important than price fluctuations in driving long‐run economic change after the Black Death. Likewise, a shift from low price responsiveness to higher price responsiveness could have been an important part of the capitalist transformation of agriculture in the early modern period.

Suggested Citation

  • Schneider, Eric B., 2014. "Prices and production: agricultural supply response in fourteenth‐century England," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 88848, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:88848
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    File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/88848/
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    Cited by:

    1. Aled Davies, 2012. "The Evolution of British Monetarism: 1968-1979," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _104, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
    2. Aled Davies, 2012. "The Evolution of British Monetarism: 1968-1979," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _104, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
    3. Schneider, Eric B., 2013. "Real wages and the family: Adjusting real wages to changing demography in pre-modern England," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 99-115.
    4. Eric B. Schneider, 2014. "Prices and production: agricultural supply response in fourteenth-century England," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 67(1), pages 66-91, February.
    5. Aled Davies, 2012. "The Evolution of British Monetarism: 1968-1979," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _104, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    6. Schneider, Eric B., 2013. "Real wages and the family: Adjusting real wages to changing demography in pre-modern England," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 99-115.

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    • N0 - Economic History - - General

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