IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/hhs/sdueko/2013_006.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The heavy plough and the agricultural revolution in medieval Europe

Author

Listed:

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Andersen, Thomas Barnebeck & Jensen, Peter Sandholt & Skovsgaard, Christian Stejner, 2013. "The heavy plough and the agricultural revolution in medieval Europe," Discussion Papers of Business and Economics 6/2013, University of Southern Denmark, Department of Business and Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:sdueko:2013_006
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.sdu.dk/-/media/files/om_sdu/institutter/ivoe/disc_papers/disc_2013/dpbe6_2013b.pdf
    File Function: Full text
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Koepke, Nikola & Baten, Joerg, 2008. "Agricultural specialization and height in ancient and medieval Europe," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 127-146, April.
    2. 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.
    3. Fujita, Masahisa & Hamaguchi, Nobuaki, 2001. "Intermediate goods and the spatial structure of an economy," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 79-109, February.
    4. Oded Galor, 2011. "Unified Growth Theory and Comparative Development," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, issue 2, pages 9-21, April-Jun.
    5. Douglass C. North, 2005. "Introduction to Understanding the Process of Economic Change," Introductory Chapters, in: Understanding the Process of Economic Change, Princeton University Press.
    6. Edward L. Glaeser, 2014. "A World Of Cities: The Causes And Consequences Of Urbanization In Poorer Countries," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 12(5), pages 1154-1199, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Javier Mejía, 2015. "The Evolution of Economic History since 1950: From Cliometrics to Cliodynamics (La evolución de la historia económica desde 1950: de cliometría hasta cliodinámica)," Tiempo y Economía, Universidad de Bogotá Jorge Tadeo Lozano, vol. 2(2), pages 79, December.
    2. Peter Sandholt Jensen & Markus Lampe & Paul Sharp & Christian Volmar Skovsgaard, 2018. "‘Getting to Denmark’: the Role of Elites for Development," Working Papers 0125, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    3. Mark Dincecco & Massimiliano Gaetano Onorato, 2016. "Military conflict and the rise of urban Europe," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 21(3), pages 259-282, September.
    4. Qing Pei & David D. Zhang & Harry F. Lee & Guodong Li, 2016. "Crop Management as an Agricultural Adaptation to Climate Change in Early Modern Era: A Comparative Study of Eastern and Western Europe," Agriculture, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(3), pages 1-17, July.
    5. Fernihough, Alan & O'Rourke, Kevin Hjortshøj, 2014. "Coal and the European Industrial Revolution," CEPR Discussion Papers 9819, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. 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).
    7. Maya Shatzmiller, 2015. "An early knowledge economy: the adoption of paper, human capital and economic change in the medieval Islamic Middle East, 700-1300 AD," Working Papers 0064, Utrecht University, Centre for Global Economic History.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Andersen, Thomas Barnebeck & Jensen, Peter Sandholt & Skovsgaard, Christian Volmar, 2016. "The heavy plow and the agricultural revolution in Medieval Europe," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 133-149.
    2. Liam Brunt & Cecilia García-Peñalosa, 2021. "Urbanisation and the onset of modern economic growth," Working Papers halshs-03123659, HAL.
    3. Bakeev, M., 2020. "Institutional and cultural research directions in development economics: Assumptions on agent motivation as a source of disagreement," Journal of the New Economic Association, New Economic Association, vol. 46(2), pages 139-156.
    4. Mara P. Squicciarini & Nico Voigtländer, 2015. "Human Capital and Industrialization: Evidence from the Age of Enlightenment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 130(4), pages 1825-1883.
    5. Torben Dall Schmidt & Peter Sandholt Jensen & Amber Naz, 2018. "Agricultural productivity and economic development: the contribution of clover to structural transformation in Denmark," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 23(4), pages 387-426, December.
    6. Victor Court, 2018. "Energy Capture, Technological Change, and Economic Growth: An Evolutionary Perspective," Biophysical Economics and Resource Quality, Springer, vol. 3(3), pages 1-27, September.
    7. William F. Maloney & Felipe Valencia Caicedo, 2017. "Engineering Growth: Innovative Capacity and Development in the Americas," CESifo Working Paper Series 6339, CESifo.
    8. Liam Brunt & Cecilia García-Peñalosa, 2021. "Urbanisation and the onset of modern economic growth," AMSE Working Papers 2101, Aix-Marseille School of Economics, France.
    9. Ron W. Nielsen, 2015. "Mathematical Analysis of the Historical Economic Growth," Papers 1509.06612, arXiv.org, revised May 2016.
    10. Kawalec Paweł, 2020. "The dynamics of theories of economic growth: An impact of Unified Growth Theory," Economics and Business Review, Sciendo, vol. 6(2), pages 19-44, June.
    11. Ron W Nielsen, 2016. "Mathematical analysis of historical income per capita distributions," Papers 1603.01685, arXiv.org, revised Apr 2016.
    12. Clark, Gregory & Cummins, Neil, 2016. "The Child Quality-Quantity Tradeoff, England, 1780-1880: A Fundamental Component of the Economic Theory of Growth is Missing," CEPR Discussion Papers 11232, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    13. Daron Acemoglu & Matthew O. Jackson, 2017. "Social Norms and the Enforcement of Laws," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 15(2), pages 245-295.
    14. Gregorio Rius-Sorolla & Sofía Estelles-Miguel & Carlos Rueda-Armengot, 2020. "Multivariable Supplier Segmentation in Sustainable Supply Chain Management," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(11), pages 1-16, June.
    15. Kerekes, Carrie B. & Williamson, Claudia R., 2008. "Unveiling de Soto's mystery: property rights, capital formation, and development," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 4(3), pages 299-325, December.
    16. Johnson, Noel D. & Koyama, Mark, 2017. "Jewish communities and city growth in preindustrial Europe," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 339-354.
    17. Timothy W. Guinnane & Sheilagh C. Ogilvie, 2013. "A Two-Tiered Demographic System: "Insiders" and "Outsiders" in Three Swabian Communities, 1558-1914," Working Papers 1021, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
    18. Laura E. Grube, 2015. "The role of culture in the persistence of traditional leadership: evidence from KwaZulu Natal, South Africa," Chapters, in: Laura E. Grube & Virgil Henry Storr (ed.), Culture and Economic Action, chapter 17, pages 375-397, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    19. Cemal Eren Arbatlı & Quamrul H. Ashraf & Oded Galor & Marc Klemp, 2020. "Diversity and Conflict," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 88(2), pages 727-797, March.
    20. Christos Pargianas, 2016. "Endogenous Economic Institutions and Persistent Income Differences among High Income Countries," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 139-159, February.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Heavy plough; medieval technology; agricultural productivity;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J10 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - General
    • N10 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • N93 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hhs:sdueko:2013_006. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Lene Holbæk). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/okioudk.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.