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Prehistoric Origins Of European Economic Integration

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  • George Grantham

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Abstract

Recent archaeological findings indicate that the Hellenistic and Roman economy was a specialized market economy that obtained levels of factor productivity that appear to be on a par with levels current on the eve of the Industrial Revolution. This raises the question when that economy began to form. The present paper shows that the most likely dating for the ‘birth of the European economy was the middle third of the first millennium BC. It attributes the knitting of trans-European connections to advances in marine technology in the Middle Bronze Age, the discovery and exploitation of the Iberian silver deposits as specie for the Middle Eastern economies, the advent of iron, and the development of the wine trade between the Mediterranean and Eastern Europe. The final factor was the spread of alphabetic writing. Each of these developments has an independent history, suggesting that early European integration was in many respects the product of a random concatenation of quite distinct causes, rather than the joint outcome of a general cause like population growth or changing property rights institutions.

Suggested Citation

  • George Grantham, 2006. "Prehistoric Origins Of European Economic Integration," Departmental Working Papers 2006-28, McGill University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:mcl:mclwop:2006-28
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    File URL: http://www.mcgill.ca/files/economics/theprehistoricorigins.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Gregory Clark, 2007. "A Review of Avner Greif's Institutions and the Path to the Modern Economy: Lessons from Medieval Trade," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 45(3), pages 725-741, September.
    2. Svizzero, Serge & Tisdell, Clem, 2014. "The Neolithic Revolution and Human Societies: Diverse Origins and Development Paths," Economics, Ecology and Environment Working Papers 168375, University of Queensland, School of Economics.
    3. Vinokurov, Evgeny, 2009. "EDB Eurasian Integration Yearbook 2009," MPRA Paper 20917, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • N13 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N53 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N70 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • N73 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N90 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • N94 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - Europe: 1913-
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes

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