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Standardized Latin and Medieval Economic Growth

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  • BLUM, Ulrich
  • DUDLEY, Leonard

Abstract

Traditional explanations for Western Europe's demographic growth in the High Middle Ages are unable to explain the rise in per-capita income that accompanied observed population changes. Here, we examine the hypothesis that an innovation in information technology changed the optimal structure of contracts and raised the productivity of human capital. We present historical evidence for this thesis, offer a theoretical explanation based on transaction costs, and test the theory's predictions with data on urban demographic growth. We find that the information-technology hypothesis significantly increases the capacity of the neoclassical growth model to explain European economic expansion between 1000 and 1300.

Suggested Citation

  • BLUM, Ulrich & DUDLEY, Leonard, 2003. "Standardized Latin and Medieval Economic Growth," Cahiers de recherche 2003-17, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
  • Handle: RePEc:mtl:montde:2003-17
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/1866/508
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    Cited by:

    1. Börner, Lars & Severgnini, Battista, 2011. "Epidemic trade," Discussion Papers 2011/12, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
    2. Mark Koyama, 2008. "Evading the 'Taint of Usury' Complex Contracts and Segmented Capital Markets," Economics Series Working Papers 412, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    3. Pancs Romans, 2010. "Communication, Innovation, and Growth," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-54, February.
    4. Oliver Volckart, 2006. "The Influence of Information Costs on the Integration of Financial Markets: Northern Europe, 1350-1560," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2006-049, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    information technology; economic growth; standardization; Euro; transaction costs;

    JEL classification:

    • N0 - Economic History - - General

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