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The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth: the English Corn Returns as a data source in economic history, 1770-1914

  • Brunt, Liam

    ()

    (Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration)

  • Cannon, Edmund

    ()

    (University of Bristol)

From 1770 to 1914, the British Government collected weekly price and quantity data for all types of grain traded in many market towns; these ‘Corn Returns’ were published in the London Gazette. We computerised the data published 1770-1864, totalling around 6 million data points. Here we describe the nature of these data; discuss why, when and how they were collected; consider their accuracy and biases; describe how we computerised them; and offer caveats in using these – and similar – data. We highlight the problem of drawing valid inferences in the face of price impact from fluctuating grain quality and rising imports.

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File URL: http://www.nhh.no/Files/Filer/institutter/sam/Discussion%20papers/2013/09.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics in its series Discussion Paper Series in Economics with number 9/2013.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: 18 Apr 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:nhheco:2013_009
Contact details of provider: Postal: NHH, Department of Economics, Helleveien 30, N-5045 Bergen, Norway
Phone: +47 55 959 277
Fax: 5595 9100
Web page: http://www.nhh.no/sam/
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  1. Carol H. Shiue & Wolfgang Keller, 2007. "Markets in China and Europe on the Eve of the Industrial Revolution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1189-1216, September.
  2. Jorg Baten & Dorothee Crayen & Hans-Joachim Voth, 2014. "Numeracy and the Impact of High Food Prices in Industrializing Britain, 1780–1850," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 96(3), pages 418-430, July.
  3. Gregory Clark, 2001. "Farm Wages and Living Standards in the Industrial Revolution: England,1670–1869[This resea]," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 54(3), pages 477-505, 08.
  4. Feinstein, Charles H., 1998. "Pessimism Perpetuated: Real Wages and the Standard of Living in Britain during and after the Industrial Revolution," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 58(03), pages 625-658, September.
  5. S. Fairlie, 1965. "The Nineteenth-Century Corn Law Reconsidered," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 18(3), pages 562-575, December.
  6. Jacks, David S., 2011. "Foreign wars, domestic markets: England, 1793–1815," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(02), pages 277-311, August.
  7. Susan Fairlie, 1969. "The Corn Laws and British Wheat Production, 1829-76," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 22(1), pages 88-110, 04.
  8. Robert C. Allen, 1999. "Tracking the agricultural revolution in England," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 52(2), pages 209-235, 05.
  9. Wray Vamplew, 1981. "Tithes and Agriculture: Some Comments on Commutation," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 34(1), pages 115-119, 02.
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