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New crops, local soils and urbanization: Clover, potatoes and the growth of Danish market towns,1672-1901

Author

Listed:
  • Torben Dall Schmidt

    () (University of Southern Denmark)

  • Peter Sandholt Jensen

    () (University of Southern Denmark)

  • Amber Naz

    () (University of Southern Denmark)

Abstract

This research evaluates the impact of the introduction of clover and potatoes on urbanization using a panel of Danish market towns from 1672 to 1901. We find evidence that both clover and potatoes contributed to urbanization using a difference-in-difference type estimation strategy which exploits that the breakthrough of clover and potatoes should have differential local effects because of soil suitability. To take into account the endogeneity of clover adoption, we instrument by suitability for growing alfalfa, which like clover is a legume. Importantly, alfalfa did not have its breakthrough in the period studied. Our IV estimates suggest that clover accounted for about 8 percent of market town population growth between 1672 and 1901, whereas roughly 6 percent can be attributed to potatoes. The analysis also indicates that the potato had its breakthrough later in Denmark than in many other countries as suggested by the historical narrative.

Suggested Citation

  • Torben Dall Schmidt & Peter Sandholt Jensen & Amber Naz, 2014. "New crops, local soils and urbanization: Clover, potatoes and the growth of Danish market towns,1672-1901," Working Papers 0065, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
  • Handle: RePEc:hes:wpaper:0065
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Nathan Nunn & Nancy Qian, 2011. "The Potato's Contribution to Population and Urbanization: Evidence From A Historical Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(2), pages 593-650.
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    6. C. Peter Timmer, 1969. "The Turnip, the New Husbandry, and the English Agricultural Revolution," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 83(3), pages 375-395.
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    8. Marco Percoco, 2014. "Path dependence, institutions and the density of economic activities: Evidence from Italian cities," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 93(1), pages 53-76, March.
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    13. repec:oxf:esohwp:_124 is not listed on IDEAS
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    clover; potatoes; agricultural productivity; urbanization;

    JEL classification:

    • N1 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations
    • N9 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • O4 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes

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