Paul Romer: the view from Economic History

In this post I write about the connections between Paul Romer’s work, which is essentially applied theory, and the empirical work on long-run economic growth done by economic historians. How was Romer influenced by the work of economic historians? has he influenced economic history? and have his theories been confirmed by the recent work of economic historians? (preview: I will argue that the answers are: yes; not much; and no).

Addendum shortly after publishing: my point above is not that Romer is wrong in general; in fact some of his ideas *about ideas* are fundamental for us to think about growth in the past. (Read on if this isn’t clear yet.)

Paul Romer’s was a well-deserved and long-anticipated prize. Many predicted he would eventually win, including myself in my very first academic article, written when I was a undergradute and published in 2008. (alternatively, click here for an ungated version). I now find it mildly amusing how assertive I was when I wrote: “Paul Romer is going to win the Nobel Prize in economics”. I continue to believe that this was a good choice.

Many have written about the nature of his main contributions, all of which, as I have said, have been on applied theory; see for instance, see the posts in Dietrich Vollrath’s blog, here and here, or in Paul Romer’s own blog.

Romer’s work had some influence on economic history, but not much. There is, for instance, a 1995 article by Nick Crafts which looks at the Industrial Revolution from a New Growth perspective, but it is fair to say that economic historians were perhaps not quick to pick up the New Growth theory train. Part of this was surely because its implications seemed to apply mostly to frontier economies and did not seem to apply to much of human history, a limitation which Unified Growth Theory would later attempt to overcome.

And yet, Romer himself has often spoken about economic history and relied on the data of economic historians. He now seems to have won mostly due to his 1990 article, but his earlier work on increasing returns (ungated version here) had a graph from Maddison, for instance (he discusses how Maddison influenced him here). And the process of growth itself was documented by economic historians using graphs such as the following; as my friend Max Roser tweeted:

(as a side note: Max, the source for this is not the Bank of England; it is Broadberry, Campbell, Klein, Overton, and van Leeuwen; empirical work is very demanding, so citations need to be fair with the people who did the hard work in putting these figures together).

One of the most empirical papers Romer has written is “Why indeed in America?”,  which was the culmination of much of what he had done before. It was also one of the last papers he wrote before entering a writing hiatus. In this paper he explicitly argues for the complementarity of economic history and growth theory. He argues that the USA achieved economic supremacy after 1870 due to having the largest integrated market in the world. He writes:

“differences in saving and education do not explain why growth was so much faster in the United States than it was in Britain around the turn of this century. In 1870, per capita income in the United States was 75 percent of per capita income in Britain. By 1929, it had increased to 130 percent. In the intervening decades, years of education per worker increased by a factor of 2.2 in Britain and by a nearly identical factor of 2.3 in the United States. In 1929, this variable remained slightly lower in the United States. (Data are taken from Angus Maddison [1995].”

Notice that there are three empirical statements here. Romer’s story builds on these facts, so if the facts change, the story must too. Theory depends on facts.

The first fact (according to Romer) is that the US only converged to British per capita GDP levels after 1870. Second, that this was not due to matters such as education or savings. Third, the reason was market size. As economic historians, we have made much progress in measuring each of these matters since 1995. Let me consider each in turn.

Timing of convergence of the USA to Britain

The important thing to keep in mind here is that it is by no means certain that the USA had not catched up earlier. The methodological issues are complicated and in fact today’s other (and equally deserving) Nobel prize, Nordhaus, wrote a fascinating paper about the problems involved in these types of measurements. (A popular description of this work can be read here.) As far as USA vs Britain is concerned, though, Marianne Ward and John Devereux summarize the debate as follows:

“Prados De la Escosura (2000) and Ward and Devereux (2003, 2004, 2005) argue for an early US income lead using current price estimates. Broadberry (2003) and Broadberry and Irwin (2006) defend the Maddison projections while Woltjer (2015) hews to a middle ground. The literature has recently taken an unexpected turn as Peter Lindert and Jeffrey Williamson, Lindert and Williamson (2016), find a larger US lead before 1870 and one that stretches further back in time than claimed by either Prados De la Escosura (2000) or Ward and Devereux (2005).”

Comparative levels of education

Recent evidence suggests that the average years of post-primary education actually declined in Britain after about 1700. (ungated version here). This was not the case at all in the USA, where it is well-known that the state invested in high schools, so it seems unlikely that average human capital grew at similar levels in the latter part of the 19th century, as Maddison/Romer claimed.

Addendum: minutes ago when I first posted, I initially wrote “post-secondary” where I meant to write “post-primary”

Market size

I used to believe this part of Romer’s story. That was until I read this brilliant paper by Leslie Hannah: “Logistics, Market Size, and Giant Plants in the Early Twentieth Century: A Global View”. (Ungated version here). Notice that Hannah does not refer to Romer’s argument or even cite him. What he does instead is he destroys the commonly held idea that USA’s market size was larger that Europe’s already before the Great War (aka World War I). It is true that the USA had more railroads, but it also had much longer distances. In Northwestern Europe, transportation by a mix of ships, trains and horses was cheaper, especially once we consider the much denser (and highly urbanized) population. It is important to remember that prior to WWI, Europe was living the “first age of globalization”, with high levels of integration and relatively low tariffs.

So, this part of Romer’s story cannot be right.

Conclusion

In conclusion, what does this all mean? will these new facts affect where growth theory will go? only time will tell, and growth theory itself is by no means moving much these days, as Paul Romer himself has addmited in recent interviews. What these facts suggest, though, is that other things must have mattered.

As I said in the beginning, I believe that Paul Romer’s applied theory work is important (as it is that of others that might have won, such as Aghion and Howitt). The natural complementaries between the work of economic historians and applied theorists suggest that we need to listen to each other in order for science to move forward. Hopefully, new generations of economists will do a bit of both, as have some people who now work on Unified Growth.

But in the future, it is fair that the Nobel committee gives more prizes to empirical work as well. Because theory can’t live without facts, but economics Nobels have been highly biased towards theorists (whether pure or applied).

Final addendum, about one hour later than the original post: Max Roser read this post and has now corrected the citation. This is not the first time I give him a slap on the wrist about this sort of thing, but I know that Max, who is a friend and a promoter extraordinaire of this sort of work, is well-intentioned. Yet it is crucial that we insist on this being done fairly everytime, because if even Max occasionally does this wrong, that shows that this is the sort of thing that easily happens. The root cause is indirect citations, i.e. citation of someone who cited the data instead of citing the original work. Doing this takes credit away from those who did the basic empirical work, even when that is unintentional. So we all need to be careful to cite those who produced the original data.

 

 

 

 

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From convergence to divergence: Portuguese economic growth, 1527-1850

By 1850 per capita incomes in Portugal were not different from what they had been in the early 1530s.

The paper “From convergence to divergence: Portuguese economic growth, 1527-1850”, by myself (Nuno Palma) and Jaime Reis, is forthcoming in the Journal of Economic History.

Despite the fact that by 1850 per capita incomes in Portugal were not different from what they had been in the early 1530s, starting in the early 1630s there was a persistent upward trend which accelerated after 1710 and peaked 40 years later.

At that point, per capita income was high by European standards, though a bit behind the most advanced Western European economies. But as the second half of the eighteenth century unfolded, a phase of economic decline was initiated. This continued into the nineteenth century so that Portugal became one of the most backward economies of Europe, precisely as the era of modern economic growth was beginning in several other Western European countries.

Portugal would then have to wait until the 1950s to start catching up.

You can find an open access version of the paper here.

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Call for papers: Revista de Historia Económica-Journal of Iberian and Latin American Economic History, Special Issue on Portuguese Economic and Social History

Revista de Historia Económica-Journal of Iberian and Latin American Economic History Fast Track Meeting: Special Issue on Portuguese Economic and Social History17 November, 2018, Lisbon

Submissions are welcome for a Fast Track session to be held during the 2018 APHES meeting in Lisbon. All papers must be submitted in English and cover some aspect of Portuguese economic history, including the former colonies (prior to independence; e.g. a paper can be about Brazil, but only prior to 1821). Comparative papers are welcome.

Anyone is free to submit, but submissions from young scholars are particularly welcome. Revista de Historia Económica-Journal of Iberian and Latin American Economic History will publish a special issue on Portuguese economic and social history based on some of the papers presented in this fast track sessionThe scientific commitee will then send the best papers to be refereed but a decision will be taken within without a long delay and articles will appear in print within a relatively short time.  

The scientific committee will be composed of Blanca Sánchez Alonso (Universidad San Pablo-CEU Spain and RHE-JILAEH chief editor), Nuno Palma (University of Manchester, UK) and Jaime Reis (ICS, University of Lisbon). 

Nuno Palma (University of Manchester, UK) will serve as the guest editor for the special issue. 

Those interested should submit their papers to RHE-JILAEH via the manuscript central system no later than 15th October 2018 https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/revista-de-historia-economica-journal-of-iberian-and-latin-american-economic-history. When submitting through manuscript central, please mention in the cover letter that you would like your paper to be considered for Fast Track. The most promising papers will be selected for the Fast Track Meeting. Authors will be informed whether their paper will be selected to present by November 1, 2018.

Best Regards,

Blanca Sánchez Alonso (Universidad San Pablo-CEU, Spain and RHE-JILAEH chief editor)

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Can autocracy promote literacy? evidence from a cultural alignment success story

What can the XXth century Portuguese experience teach us about the interaction between political regimes and literacy attainment?

Here’s a recent paper on this topic by Jaime Reis and myself. The CEPR version is gated, but you can find a free access version here. Here’s the abstract:

“Do countries with less democratic forms of government necessarily have lower literacy rates as a consequence? Using a random sample of 4,600+ individuals from military archives in Portugal, we show that 20-year old males were twice as likely to end up literate under an authoritarian regime than under a democratic one. Our results are robust to controlling for a host of factors including economic growth, the disease environment, and regional fixed effects. We argue for a political economy and cultural explanation for the success of the authoritarian regime in promoting basic education.”

In a sense, this is a paper in the spirit of Edmund Burke’s argument that social change needs to be gradual, and cannot be changed by top-down design overnight.

To contextualize the paper further, note that Portugal during the first half of the XXth century was very poor. In 1910 it had a GDP per capita of international GK $1228, compared with 4,611 for England, and hence closer to that of Côte d’Ivoire today (1,195 in 2010). Even as late as 1950 Portugal, at IGK $2,086, was behind Mozambique today (with IGK $1876 in 2010), and was clearly poorer than Cape Verde today its last avaliable data year, 2008 (IGK $2,735). Source: the 2013 Maddison Project. (I haven’t updated these numbers using the new MPD but the general pattern won’t have changed much).

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Why did premodern Poland fail? (Highlight II)

Mikołaj Malinowski (Lund) is a quantitative economic historian. His expertise is in quantitative analyses of the role of markets and institutions in long-term economic growth of Eastern Europe. He has already constructed long-term series of real wages, GDP, and market conditions in Poland between the late middle ages and the early 19th century. This investigation revealed that the Polish economy expanded in the late middle ages and the 16th century but then contracted in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Further, Malinowski put forth the hypothesis that the economic contraction might have been a result of market segmentation. Building on a large body of price data, he showed that market conditions in Poland were improving in the 16th century but then declined in the 17th and 18th centuries. He proposed that the market crisis affected Polish economic development via two channels. First, the market segmentation led to an increase in the Malthusian pressure and, subsequently, to the decline in real wages. Second, he demonstrated that the adverse market conditions reinforced serfdom, which in the short term made the urban sector more resilient to the adverse conditions, but in the long term consigned the region to backwardness.

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This research has been published in top peer-reviewed journals in Economic history. His article ‘Serfs and the city: market conditions, surplus extraction institutions, and urban growth in early modern Poland’ has been awarded the Figuerola Prize for the best article published in the European Review of Economic History.

Currently, Malinowski researches the impact of political centralization and legal state capacity on economic development. States can either stimulate or inhibit economic performance. Proponents of the free-market see the coercive nature of states as a factor contributing to economic stagnation. New Institutional Economics argues for constraining governments to avoid harmful predation. However, states can also provide the institutional framework necessary for sustained economic growth. Malinowski analyses the role the parliament played in developing a domestic commodity market in the First Republic of Poland. His results indicate that legal state capacity was positively associated with domestic market integration. Conversely, anarchy, understood as executory, judiciary, and regulatory inaction of the central government was associated with a rise in the exchange costs.

Malinowski is also one of the founders of WEast: The Eastern European Economic History Initiative. He has developed a well-established series of periodic workshops in economic and social history that has received financial support of the European Society of Historical Economics. Information about WEast can be found on weast.info.

KEY RESEARCH:

Income and its distribution in preindustrial Poland. Cliometrica 11(3), 2017 (With Jan Luiten van Zanden)

Serfs and the city: market conditions, surplus extraction institutions and urban growth in Poland, 1500-1772. European Review of Economic History 20(2), 2016: 123-146

Little Divergence revisited: Polish living standards in a European perspective, 1500-1800. European Review of Economic History 20(3), 2016: 345-367

Market conditions in preindustrial Poland, 1500-1772. Economic History of Developing Regions 31(2), 2016

Economic consequences of anarchy; Legal state capacity and market integration in early modern Poland, mimeo.

Ridolfi on premodern France (Hightlight I)

As announced in the previous post, there will be from now on once in a while posts written by guest scholars, both junior a senior. This post has been written by Leonardo Ridolfi of the IMT School for Advanced Studies, Lucca. You can find Leonardo’s most recent working paper here.

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The French economy in the longue durée. A study on real wages, working days and economic performance from Louis IX to the Revolution (1250-1789)

This work addresses a gap in the literature concerning living standards in pre-industrial France.

While traditionally research had an eminently localized character, focusing on the experience of specific regions or what might be called “local economics,” still to date, there is no consolidated understanding of the long-term development of wages and prices from a broader national perspective.

Building and improving upon the precious contributions offered by the many compilers of wage and price data in France, this study is an attempt to provide a solid empirical characterization of the principal macro-economic aggregates of pre-industrial France and trace the main contours of economic growth in the country from the phase of early state formation to the Revolution.

Delving into the vast set of secondary and printed primary sources, the first section presents new series of real wages for male agricultural and construction workers in France from 1250 to 1789 (now updated to 1860) following Allen (2001)’s barebones basket methodology.

The analysis highlighted three main issues.

First, our series offer little support to the argument that there were appreciable long run improvements in living standards for French wage earners before the Industrial Revolution. Indeed, real wages displayed no substantial trend improvement between the thirteenth and the mid-nineteenth century.

Second, the estimates reveal that the period 1350-1550 saw the rise and consolidation of a real wage gap between France and England as well as other leading European cities. Still in the decade prior to the Black Death the real wage differential between French and English workers of the construction sector was remarkably low. A century later, in the 1450s, French building labourers had between about 25 and 40 percent less of the income of their European counterparts.

Comparing real wages of French farmers to those of their English counterparts I found a similar pattern and few traces of a French “golden age” of labour. Indeed, after a first phase of rapid expansion following the Black Death, by the1370s real wages grew less and for a shorter period than elsewhere in Europe where the welfare gains consolidated almost until up the 1450s. At a more disaggregated level, similar trends are discernible by comparing Paris to London.

As a first step, I decomposed the proximate causes of this gap between prices and wages. I found that France and England witnessed similar deflationary trends between the 1370s and the 1450s. Yet, it was the decline of French silver wages (apparently driven by falling production and reduced labour demand especially during the worst phases of the Hundred Years War) and the contemporaneous increase of English salaries, that explain the “dampened” Malthusian cycle of real wages in France as opposed to the “full” Malthusian cycle experienced by England and Central-Northern Italy.

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Figure 1: Real wages

Notes and Sources:  French labourers: this study (updated version of the thesis). England: Clark (2005).

Finally, even if demographic data before the 1550s are fragmentary, it is possible to argue, consistently with the Malthusian interpretation, that the dynamics between real wages and population was characterized by a long-lasting inverse relationship. Nevertheless, while this mechanism appears to hold in general, at least by the mid-seventeenth century one can detect a weakening of the inverse relationship. Indeed, the long phase of demographic expansion that brought population almost to triple between the 1600s and the mid-nineteenth century, was paralleled by a mild decrease or a substantial stagnation of real wages.

The second section provides a broad characterization of working time in pre-industrial Europe concentrating on three dimensions of time: the calendar working year corresponding to the calendar year net of general holidays and religious festivities; the actual working year and the implied working year defined as the annual number of days of work required by a male breadwinner to provide for a notional family of five components (Allen and Weisdorf 2011).

Due to the dearth of compelling evidence on work intensity for workers employed in agriculture, I looked at the experience of construction workers on site providing new estimates of trends in calendar, actual and implied working year in France and England from the fourteenth to the eighteenth century.

By analyzing the joint evolution of these three dimensions of time and comparing the patterns of change of time-use, and their response to variations in the institutional and market conditions, I identified two distinct regimes of industriousness featuring France and England in the pre-industrial era.

In France, the annual number of days required by a male breadwinner to provide for his family (the implied working year) was greater than the actual number of days worked per year, meaning that women and children’s labour force participation as well as the presence of additional sources of non-labor income were necessary to assure the basic levels of consumption. This implies that expansions in the offer of labour were primarily driven by raising inflation and economic hardship (Figure 2).

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Figure 2: The French case

Sources: Calendar, actual and implied working year: this study.

Notes: Surplus (deficit) labour input: The positive (negative) difference between actual and implied working year (shaded area).

By contrast, I found evidence of the existence of two phases where English regular construction workers supplied more days of work to the market than required by basic household subsistence (Figure 3).

The first episode occurred between 1400 and 1500, while the second corresponds to the industrious revolution originally described by De Vries (2008).

Several hypotheses are discussed to shed light on the origin of these phases of surplus labour input and their implications on the structure of consumption and production. These episodes differed in two fundamental ways.

First, they originated from different dynamics.

Indeed, the episode of surplus labour input located by De Vries in the seventeenth century England and the Low Countries, derived from an upsurge in actual workloads and a contemporary drop of work requirements necessary for family subsistence in a context of progressive expansion of the frontier of working possibilities.

On the contrary, the episode of surplus labour input detected in the post-plague period was characterized by the contemporary reduction of actual, calendar and implied working year.

Received wisdom would suggest that workers should have totally (or in large part) compensated the post-plague increases in real wage rates by reducing labour supply of approximately the same amount consuming a considerable proportion of their augmented purchasing power in the form of leisure (Blanchard 1994). However, actual workloads decreased much less than implied by the contemporary increase in real wage rates. This incomplete adjustment, that reflected a rather inelastic labour supply of construction workers, could depend on two main factors.

First, the existence of technical requirements and institutional settings, including the rhythm of the construction process, the rests dictated by calendar working year as well as the recruiting schemes of contractors and the organizational forms of entrepreneurs, limited voluntary reductions of actual workloads.

Second, the incomplete response of actual workloads could reflect the rise of a new attitude toward higher quality consumption from an increasing share of workers (seemingly skilled and urban) that was “aping the lesser gentry” (Dyer 1988).

In this respect, these episodes had different implications for the relationship between labour offer, consumption and production.

Indeed, the phase of surplus labour input in the seventeenth century England was seemingly related to a consumer revolution (Allen and Weisdorf 2011) and could be thought of as a transition from traditional consumption cluster to a broader and more modern one that included colonial products and luxuries (De Vries 2008).

The episode of surplus labour input in the late medieval England was not marked by more and new items entering the basket but seemingly ran in parallel with a relocation of consumption choices within the horizon of traditional consumption that reflected structural changes in the economy after the Black Death and the aspiration of a growing share of population for higher alimentary standards less dependent upon cereal-based and lower quality foodstuff (Dyer 1988).

From the production side, while the seventeenth century phase of surplus labour input saw the rise and consolidation of new sectors outside agriculture, the first episode (seemingly did not cause but) coincided in time with a shift of agriculture from arable to pasture. This process is consistent with a large body of empirical evidence documenting changes in alimentary regimes during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.

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Figure 3: The English case

Sources: Calendar year: this study. Implied working year: Allen and Weisdorf (2011). Actual working year: Period 1300-1559: this study. Between 1560 and 1732, Clark and Van DerWerf (1998) and by 1750 Voth (2001) as reported in Table 2 of Allen and Weisdorf (2011).

Notes: Surplus (deficit) labour input: The positive (negative) difference between actual and implied working year (shaded area).

Finally, in the last section I present new estimates of agricultural and total output per capita in France between 1280 and 1789 using the demand side approach. The study suggests that GDP per capita displayed no substantial trend improvement over this period. At the death of King Philip the Fair in 1314, France was a leading economy in Europe and output per capita averaged 900 dollars per year. Almost five centuries later, at the beginning of the 18th century, this threshold was largely unchanged and GDP per capita was slightly above 1000 dollars, about half of the level registered in England and the Low Countries (Figure 4).

These estimates document quantitatively and in the aggregate what was previously known only qualitatively or for some regions by the classic works of the French historiography (Goubert 1960; Le Roy Ladurie 1966) thus offering support to Le Roy Ladurie (1977)’s characterization of the pre-industrial French economy as a stagnating, growthless system.

Nevertheless, GDP per capita was highly volatile and experienced multiple peaks and troughs alternating phases of economic crisis to periods of economic expansion. These include the “efflorescence” of economic growth that took place between the 1280s and the 1370s and the growth trend since the mid-16th century that ran in parallel with the consolidation of the French state and the opening of new trade routes from Europe to Asia and the Americas.

Overall, our estimates suggest that the evolution of GDP per capita in France can be suitably interpreted as an intermediate case between the successful example of England and the Low Countries and the declining patterns of Central-Northern Italy and Spain. Being neither a southern country nor a northern one, the growth experience of France seems to reflect this geographic heterogeneity.

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Figure 4: GDP per capita in Europe

Sources: England: Broadberry et al. (2011); France: this study; Holland: van Zanden and van Leeuwen (2012); Italy: Malanima (2011); Portugal: Palma and Reis (2016); Spain: Álvarez-Nogal and Prados de la Escosura (2013); Sweden: Schön and Krantz (2012).

References

Allen, Robert C. “The great divergence in European wages and prices from the Middle Ages to the First World War.” Explorations in economic history 38, no. 4 (2001): 411-447.

Allen, Robert C., and Jacob Louis Weisdorf. “Was there an ‘industrious revolution’ before the industrial revolution? An empirical exercise for England, c. 1300-1830.” The Economic History Review 64, no. 3 (2011): 715-729.

Álvarez‐Nogal, Carlos, and Leandro Prados de la Escosura. “The rise and fall of Spain (1270-1850).” The Economic History Review 66, no. 1 (2013): 1-37.

Blanchard, Ian. Labour and Leisure in Historical Perspective, Thirteenth to Twentieth Centuries: Papers Presented at Session B-3a of the Eleventh International Economic History Congress, Milan, 12th-17th September, 1994. No. 116. F. Steiner, 1994.

Broadberry, Stephen et al. “British Economic Growth, 1270-1870: An Output-Based Approach”, London School of Economics, 2011. http://www2.lse.ac.uk/economicHistory/whosWho/profiles/sbroadberry.aspx.

Clark, Gregory, and Ysbrand Van Der Werf. “Work in progress? The industrious revolution.” The Journal of Economic History 58, no. 3 (1998): 830-843.

Clark, Gregory. “The condition of the working class in England, 1209–2004.” Journal of Political Economy 113, no. 6 (2005): 1307-1340.

De Vries, Jan. The industrious revolution: consumer behavior and the household economy, 1650 to the present. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

Dyer, Christopher. “Changes in diet in the late middle ages: the case of harvest workers.” The Agricultural History Review (1988): 21-37.

Goubert, Pierre. Beauvais et le Beauvaisis de 1600 à 1730: contribution à l’histoire sociale de la France du XVIIe siècle: atlas (cartes et graphiques). Paris: SEVPEN, 1960.

Le Roy Ladurie, Emmanuel. Les paysans de Languedoc. 2 vols. Paris: SEVPEN, 1966.

Le Roy Ladurie, Emmanuel. “Motionless history.” Social Science History 1, no. 2 (1977): 115-136.

Malanima, Paolo. “The long decline of a leading economy: GDP in central and northern Italy, 1300-1913.” European Review of Economic History 15, no. 2 (2011): 169-219.

Palma, Nuno and Reis, Jaime. “From Convergence to Divergence: Portuguese Demography and Economic Growth, 1500-1850” (September 13, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2839971 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2839971

Schön, Lennart, and Olle Krantz. “The Swedish economy in the early modern period: constructing historical national accounts.” European Review of Economic History 16, no. 4 (2012): 529-549.

Van Zanden, Jan Luiten, and Bas Van Leeuwen. “Persistent but not consistent: The growth of national income in Holland 1347-1807.” Explorations in economic history 49, no. 2 (2012): 119-130.

Voth, Hans-Joachim. “The longest years: new estimates of labor input in England, 1760-1830.” The Journal of Economic History 61, no. 4 (2001): 1065-1082.

 

 

Introducing “highlights”: Ridolfi on premodern France and Jongman on the Roman empire

From now on there will be once in a while posts written by others in this blog. These will be written both by young scholars and by more senior, established scholars.

The idea is that these scholars will write short essays about the main conclusions (and possibly policy implications) from their overall work. Scholars will write about their work overall: the forest, not the trees. Speculation about future work and general considerations about the state of the field are welcome. Hence the logic is different (and a complement, not a substitute) from that of blogs such as EHES’s Positive Check or EHS’s The Long Run, where people write about one specific paper at the time.

Consistent with this policy, the two inaugural posts will be written by:

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