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Did Climate Change Influence English Agricultural Development? (1645-1740)

Author

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  • José L. Martínes-González

    (University of Barcelona)

Abstract

In this paper I analyze the ÔNitrogen ParadoxÕ stated by Robert Allen in his interpretation of the English Agricultural Revolution as an adaptive response to the agro-climatic impacts of the last phase of the Little Ice Age. The colder and more humid climate during the second half of the 17th century negatively affected the yield of the land, but it also accelerated change in the agrarian sector. The first evidence suggests that the efforts from farmers could begin to be felt in the cold period from 1660-70. Although the results were not very visible at first, this increased effort prevented a greater fall in production. This can be seen in the wheat series, where production rose slightly. As wheat demand stagnated due to a slowdown in the rise of the population, wheat prices fell, determining the evolution of relative prices and a diversification in production. In others words, the crucial driving forces of the transition from the crisis to the agrarian revolution were climate, population and the capacity of adaptation. In order to prove this hypothesis, I developed new intermediate tools, opening an interesting research field in economic history.

Suggested Citation

  • José L. Martínes-González, 2015. "Did Climate Change Influence English Agricultural Development? (1645-1740)," Working Papers 0075, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
  • Handle: RePEc:hes:wpaper:0075
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    File URL: https://www.ehes.org/wp/EHES_75.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Climate Change; Agrarian Revolution; Adaptation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • N53 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • Q10 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - General
    • Q24 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Land
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • Q55 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Technological Innovation
    • Q57 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Ecological Economics

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