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Prices and Production: Agricultural Supply Response in Fourteenth-Century England

  • Eric Schneider

This paper challenges the growing consensus in the literature (Stone, 2005; Dodds, 2007) that medieval English peasants and manorial managers were price responsive in their production decisions.� Using prices of and acreages planted with wheat, barley, and oats of 49 manors held by the bishop of Winchester from 1349-70, we estimate price elasticities of supply for each grain in aggregate and on each particular manor.� Aggregate price elasticities of supply for wheat and oats were not significantly different than zero, and barley aggregate elasticities of supply were significant but very low.� These elasticities are low compared with price elasticities of supply estimated for developing and developed countries in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.� Attempting to explain the variation in the estimated price elasticities for individual manors, market concentration had a significant, positive effect on price elasticities of wheat and oat supply.� In the end, the low levels of price responsiveness in the post-Black Death period suggest that commercialisation was not as dominant in the medieval English economy as has been argued.� Thus, the institutional and structural changes highlighted by Marxist and Neo-Malthusian historians may need to take a more prominent role in explanations of medieval economic change.

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Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number Number 97.

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Date of creation: 08 Feb 2012
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:number-97
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  1. Eric Schneider, 2012. "Prices and Production: Agricultural Supply Response in Fourteenth-Century England," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _097, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  2. Offer, Avner & Pechey, Rachel & Ulijaszek, Stanley, 2010. "Obesity under affluence varies by welfare regimes: The effect of fast food, insecurity, and inequality," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 297-308, December.
  3. Florian Ploeckl, 2010. "The Zollverein and the Formation of a Customs Union," Economics Series Working Papers Number 84, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  4. Eric B. Schneider, 2011. "Evaluating the Effectiveness of Yield-Raising Strategies in Medieval England: An Econometric Approach," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _090, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  5. Alan de Bromhead & Barry Eichengreen & Kevin H. O'Rourke, 2012. "Right-Wing Political Extremism in the Great Depression," NBER Working Papers 17871, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Rui P. Esteves, 2011. "The Political Economy of Global Financial Liberalisation in Historical Perspective," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _089, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  7. Jane Humphries, 2011. "The Lure of Aggregates and the Pitfalls of the Patriarchal Perspective: A Critique of the High Wage Economy Interpretation of the British Industrial Revolution," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _091, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  8. Douglas A. Irwin & Kevin H. O'Rourke, . "Coping with Shocks and Shifts: The Multilateral Trading System in Historical Perspective," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp387, IIIS.
  9. Emanuele Felice, 2011. "The determinants of Italy's regional imbalances over the long run: exploring the contributions of human and social capital," Economics Series Working Papers Number 88, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  10. Jane Humphries, 2011. "The Lure of Aggregates and the Pitfalls of the Patriarchal Perspective: A Critique of the High Wage Economy Interpretation of the British Industrial Revolution," Economics Series Working Papers Paper 91, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  11. Simon C. Holmes & Florian Ploeckl, 2012. "Bank on Steel? Joint-stocks and the Rationalisation of the British Interwar Steel Industry," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _093, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  12. Florian Ploeckl & Simon C. Holmes, 2012. "Bank on Steel? Joint-Stock Banks and the Rationalisation of the British Interwar Steel Industry," Economics Series Working Papers Number 93, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  13. S. Ryan Johansson, 2010. "Medics, Monarchs and Mortality, 1600-1800: Origins of the Knowledge-Driven Health Transition in Europe," Economics Series Working Papers Number85, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
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