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Agricultural Productivity in the Early Ottoman Empire


  • Metin M. Cosgel

    (University of Connecticut)


This paper provides standardized estimates of labor productivity in arable farming in selected regions of the early Ottoman Empire, including Jerusalem and neighboring districts in eastern Mediterranean; Bursa and Malatya in Anatolia; and Thessaly, Herzegovina, and Budapest in eastern Europe. I use data from the tax registers of the Ottoman Empire to estimate grain output per worker, standardized (in bushels of wheat equivalent) to allow productivity comparisons within these regions and with other times and places. The results suggest that Ottoman agriculture in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries had achieved levels of labor productivity that compared favorably even with most European countries circa 1850.

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  • Metin M. Cosgel, 2004. "Agricultural Productivity in the Early Ottoman Empire," Working papers 2004-35, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics, revised Oct 2005.
  • Handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2004-35 Note: This paper previously circulated under the title "Agricultural Productivity in Eastern Europe and Western Asia in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries"

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    Ottoman Empire; labor productivity; agriculture;

    JEL classification:

    • N1 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations
    • N3 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy
    • N5 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries

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