The heavy plough and the agricultural revolution in medieval Europe
This research tests the long-standing hypothesis, put forth by Lynn White, Jr. (1962), that the adoption of the heavy plough in northern Europe led to increased population density and urbanization. White argued that it was impossible to take proper advantage of the fertile clay soils of northern Europe before the invention and widespread adoption of the heavy plough. We implement the test in a difference-in-difference set-up by exploiting regional variation in the presence of fertile clay soils. Consistent with the hypothesis, we find that regions with relatively more fertile clay soil experienced increased urbanization and population after the plough had its breakthrough, which was approximately around the closing of the first millennium AD. We find that the heavy plough accounts for more than 10% of the increase in population density and urbanization during the high middle ages.
|Date of creation:||08 Mar 2013|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Department of Business and Economics, University of Southern Denmark, Campusvej 55, DK-5230 Odense M, Denmark|
Phone: 65 50 32 33
Fax: 65 50 32 37
Web page: http://www.sdu.dk/ivoe
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- Davide Cantoni & Noam Yuchtman, 2014.
"Medieval Universities, Legal Institutions, and the Commercial Revolution,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
Oxford University Press, vol. 129(2), pages 823-887.
- Davide Cantoni & Noam Yuchtman, 2012. "Medieval Universities, Legal Institutions, and the Commercial Revolution," NBER Working Papers 17979, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Cantoni, Davide & Yuchtman, Noam, 2012. "Medieval Universities, Legal Institutions, and the Commercial Revolution," Discussion Papers in Economics 12896, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
- Davide Cantoni & Noam Yuchtman, 2013. "Medieval Universities, Legal Institutions, and the Commercial Revolution," CESifo Working Paper Series 4452, CESifo Group Munich.
- Noam Yuchtman & Davide Cantoni, 2013. "Medieval Universities, Legal Institutions, and the Commercial Revolution," 2013 Meeting Papers 95, Society for Economic Dynamics.
- Cantoni, Davide & Yuchtman, Noam, 2014. "Medieval Universities, Legal Institutions, and the Commercial Revolution," Munich Reprints in Economics 21915, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
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