Evaluating the Effectiveness of Yield-Raising Strategies in Medieval England: An Econometric Approach
This paper employs multiple regression analysis to evaluate the effectiveness of yield-raising techniques available to medieval farm managers (reeves) using a panel dataset of 49 manors held by the Bishop of Winchester from 1349-70. There are three main interesting findings. First, annual weather variation, modelled with climate reconstructions, was highly significant in explaining annual yield variation in wheat, barley, and oat yields, though the weather influenced each grain differently. Second, there is evidence that planting leguminous fodder crops and livestock stocking rates had small or even negative effects on grain yields. Finally, there is indirect evidence that reeves responded to economic incentives in allocating labour inputs such as manuring, weeding, harvesting, and gleaning among their crops, giving them a small ability to adjust their output based on economic incentives. These findings complicate our understanding of the agricultural revolution. The ineffectiveness of short-run yield-raising strategies employed in open field agriculture would support Overton’s traditional argument of the importance of enclosure for the gains in agricultural productivity. However, the whispers of price responsiveness on the manors might suggest that open fields were becoming more efficient, supporting Allen’s argument that the first agricultural revolution was carried out by small farmers on open fields.
|Date of creation:||18 Jul 2011|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: https://www.nuffield.ox.ac.uk/economics/|
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Hatcher, John & Bailey, Mark, 2001. "Modelling the Middle Ages: The History and Theory of England's Economic Development," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199244126, December.
- Stone, David, 2005. "Decision-Making in Medieval Agriculture," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199247769, December.
- Allen,Robert C., 2009.
"The British Industrial Revolution in Global Perspective,"
Cambridge University Press, number 9780521687850, November.
- Allen,Robert C., 2009. "The British Industrial Revolution in Global Perspective," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521868273, November.
- Askari, Hossein & Cummings, John Thomas, 1977. "Estimating Agricultural Supply Response with the Nerlove Model: A Survey," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 18(2), pages 257-92, June.
- M. J. Stephenson, 1988. "Wool yields in the medieval economy," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 41(3), pages 368-391, 08.
- D.L. Farmer, 1977. "Grain Yields on the Winchester Manors in the Later Middle Ages," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 30(4), pages 555-566, November.
- Robert C. Allen, 1999. "Tracking the agricultural revolution in England," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 52(2), pages 209-235, 05.
- Allen, Robert C., 2008. "The Nitrogen Hypothesis and the English Agricultural Revolution: A Biological Analysis," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 68(01), pages 182-210, March.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nuf:esohwp:_090. 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: (Maxine Collett)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.