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Epidemic trade

  • Börner, Lars
  • Severgnini, Battista

This paper studies the spread of the Black Death as a proxy for the ow of medieval trade between 1346 and 1351. The Black Death struck most areas of Europe and the wider Mediterranean. Based on a modified version of the gravity model, we estimate the speed (in kilometers per day) of transmission of the disease between the transmitting and the receiving cities. We find that the speed depends on distance, political borders, and on the political importance of a city. Furthermore, variables related to the means of transportation like rivers and the sea, religious seasons such as Lent and Advent, and geographical position are of substantial significance. These results are the first to enable us to identify and quantify key variables of medieval trade ows based on an empirical trade model. These results shed new light on many qualitative debates on the importance and causes of medieval trade.

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Paper provided by Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 2011/12.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:fubsbe:201112
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  1. Emily Oster, 2012. "Routes Of Infection: Exports And Hiv Incidence In Sub-Saharan Africa," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(5), pages 1025-1058, October.
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  11. Conley, T. G., 1999. "GMM estimation with cross sectional dependence," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 1-45, September.
  12. Lars Boerner & Battista Severgnini, 2012. "Epidemic Trade," Working Papers 0024, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
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  16. Bosker, Maarten & Buringh, Eltjo & Van Zanden, Jan Luiten, 2008. "From Baghdad to London: The Dynamics of Urban Growth in Europe and the Arab World, 800-1800," CEPR Discussion Papers 6833, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. David Chilosi & Oliver Volckart, 2009. "Money, states and empire: financial integration cycles and institutional change in Central Europe, 1400-1520," Economic History Working Papers 27884, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
  18. Fujita, Masahisa & Mori, Tomoya, 1996. "The role of ports in the making of major cities: Self-agglomeration and hub-effect," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 93-120, April.
  19. Kuran, Timur, 2003. "The Islamic Commercial Crisis: Institutional Roots of Economic Underdevelopment in the Middle East," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 63(02), pages 414-446, June.
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