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Estimating medieval market integration: Evidence from exchange rates


  • Volckart, Oliver
  • Wolf, Nikolaus


In this paper we present a new method for estimating market integration under a commodity money system such as that which existed in Europe until the demise of the gold standard. The approach is based on the analysis of deviations between exchange rates and parity, which under conditions of a perfectly functioning and fully integrated market should not exceed the bullion points. Consequently the time needed for adjustment, following a violation of the bullion points, can be used as an indicator of market imperfections and as a measure of integration. We apply this approach to trade between late medieval Flanders, Lübeck and Prussia, our results showing that Flanders-Lübeck constituted a much better-integrated market than Flanders-Prussia. Moreover, the results indicate that the degree of market integration increased between the early fourteenth and the middle of the fifteenth century.

Suggested Citation

  • Volckart, Oliver & Wolf, Nikolaus, 2004. "Estimating medieval market integration: Evidence from exchange rates," Discussion Papers 2004/21, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:fubsbe:200421

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Berger, Helge & Hefeker, Carsten, 2005. "One Country, One Vote? Labor Market Structure and Voting Rights in the ECB," Journal of Economic Integration, Center for Economic Integration, Sejong University, vol. 20, pages 672-687.
    2. N. J. Mayhew, 1974. "Numismatic Evidence and Falling Prices in the Fourteenth Century," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 27(1), pages 1-15, February.
    3. Eugene Canjels & Gauri Prakash-Canjels & Alan M. Taylor, 2004. "Measuring Market Integration: Foreign Exchange Arbitrage and the Gold Standard, 1879-1913," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(4), pages 868-882, November.
    4. Lo, Ming Chien & Zivot, Eric, 2001. "Threshold Cointegration And Nonlinear Adjustment To The Law Of One Price," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 5(04), pages 533-576, September.
    5. Muchlinski, Elke, 2004. "Kontroversen in der internationalen Währungspolitik: Retrospektive zu Keynes-White-Boughton & IMF," Discussion Papers 2004/1, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
    6. S. R. Epstein, 1994. "Regional fairs, institutional innovation, and economic growth in late medieval Europe," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 47(3), pages 459-482, August.
    7. Weber, Ernst Juerg, 1996. ""Imaginary" or "Real" Moneys of Account in Medieval Europe? An Econometric Analysis of the Basle Pound, 1365-1429," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 479-495, October.
    8. Officer,Lawrence H., 2007. "Between the Dollar-Sterling Gold Points," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521038218, May.
    9. Sussman, Nathan, 1998. "The Late Medieval Bullion Famine Reconsidered," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 58(01), pages 126-154, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Boom, Anette, 2004. ""Download for Free": When do providers of digital goods offer free samples?," Discussion Papers 2004/28, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
    2. Robert Cromley & Dean Hanink, 2008. "Population growth and the development of a central place system," Journal of Geographical Systems, Springer, vol. 10(4), pages 383-405, December.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • F31 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Exchange
    • N13 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N23 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - Europe: Pre-1913


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