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From extreme luxury to everyday commodity Sugar in Sweden, 17th to 20th centuries


  • Rönnbäck, Klas

    () (Department of Economic History, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)


This paper will focus upon the Swedish consumption of sugar, a product that illustrates the shift from being a luxury to being a mass-consumed commodity. Very little attention has been paid to the commodity of sugar by Swedish scholars, at least concerning the period prior to the introduction of the sugar beet in the late 19th century. The paper will try to answer three questions: - When did sugar experience a shift from luxury to everyday commodity? - What factors are important to explain the shift? - What impacts did the increasing sugar consumption have, at home and abroad? Regarding the last question, the paper most importantly presents a novel calculation of how large the ‘ghost acreage’ and slave labour population the Swedish consumption during the early modern era required.

Suggested Citation

  • Rönnbäck, Klas, 2007. "From extreme luxury to everyday commodity Sugar in Sweden, 17th to 20th centuries," Göteborg Papers in Economic History 11, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economic History, revised 29 Jan 2008.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunhis:0011

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Sara Horrell & Jane Humphries & Martin Weale, 1994. "An input-output table for 1841," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 47(3), pages 545-566, August.
    2. Bohlin, Jan, 2003. "Swedish historical national accounts: The fifth generation," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 7(01), pages 73-97, April.
    3. Mark Thomas, 1983. "Rearmament and Economic Recovery in the late 1930S," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 36(4), pages 552-579, November.
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    More about this item


    Economic History; Price History; Consumption; Sugar; Sweden; Ghost acreage; Slavery;

    JEL classification:

    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N36 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Latin America; Caribbean
    • N93 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - Europe: Pre-1913

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