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Revolutionary change and structural breaks: A time series analysis of wages and commodity prices in Britain 1264-1913


  • Casson, Catherine
  • Fry, J. M.


In this paper we empirically test the hypothesis that economic revolutions are associated with structural breaks in historical economic data. A simple test for structural breaks in economic time series is applied to British wage and price data from the medieval to the modern period. Evidence for structural change is found in nearly half of the series studied -- suggesting that structural breaks are an intrinsic feature of such historic data. Structural changes are most closely linked to the Commercial Revolution followed by the Agricultural Revolution and the Industrial Revolution, with changes linked to an underlying process of price stabilisation as measured by a decrease in the long-term level of volatility.

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  • Casson, Catherine & Fry, J. M., 2011. "Revolutionary change and structural breaks: A time series analysis of wages and commodity prices in Britain 1264-1913," MPRA Paper 27866, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:27866

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Zeileis, Achim & Kleiber, Christian & Kramer, Walter & Hornik, Kurt, 2003. "Testing and dating of structural changes in practice," Computational Statistics & Data Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 44(1-2), pages 109-123, October.
    2. Angus Deaton & Guy Laroque, 1992. "On the Behaviour of Commodity Prices," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 59(1), pages 1-23.
    3. Rossana, Robert J & Seater, John J, 1992. "Aggregation, Unit Roots and the Time Series Structure on Manufacturing Real Wages," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 33(1), pages 159-179, February.
    4. Adrian R. Bell & Chris Brooks & Tony Moore, 2008. "Interest in medieval accounts: Examples from England, 1272-1340," ICMA Centre Discussion Papers in Finance icma-dp2008-07, Henley Business School, Reading University.
    5. John H. Munro, 1999. "The Low Countries' Export Trade in Textiles with the Mediterranean Basin, 1200-1600: A Cost-Benefit Analysis of Comparative Advantages in Overland and Maritime Trade Routes," Working Papers munro-99-01, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
    6. Harley, C. Knick & Crafts, N.F.R., 2000. "Simulating the Two Views of the British Industrial Revolution," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(03), pages 819-841, September.
    7. Stacie Beck, 2001. "Autoregressive conditional heteroscedasticity in commodity spot prices," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(2), pages 115-132.
    8. Jushan Bai & Pierre Perron, 2003. "Computation and analysis of multiple structural change models," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(1), pages 1-22.
    9. Dabin Wang & William G. Tomek, 2007. "Commodity Prices and Unit Root Tests," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 89(4), pages 873-889.
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    More about this item


    historical economics; economic revolutions; structural breaks; price stabilisation;

    JEL classification:

    • C00 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - General - - - General
    • N0 - Economic History - - General
    • P52 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems - - - Comparative Studies of Particular Economies


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