India and the Great Divergence: Assessing the Efficiency of Grain Markets in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century India
By analysing a newly compiled data base of grain prices, this article finds that prior to the nineteenth century the grain trade in India was essentially local, while more distant markets remained fragmented. It was only in the second half of the nineteenth century that market integration accelerated, so that by the end of the century a national grain market had emerged. The paper also contributes to the comparative great divergence debate, in that it rejects, for India, the claim of the California School of ‘Asia’ having reached a similar stage of economic development as Europe before the late eighteenth or early nineteenth century. In a larger context, this contribution can thus be seen as part of the larger counterrevolution against the iconoclasm of the California School.
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