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Europe’s Many Integrations: Geography and Grain Markets, 1620-1913

by David Chilosi, Tommy E. Murphy and Roman Studer

This article documents and examines the integration of grain markets in Europe across the early modern/late modern divide and across distances and regions. It relies on principal component analysis to identify market structures. The analysis finds that a European market emerged only in the nineteenth century, but the process had earlier roots. In early modern times a fall in trading costs was followed by an increase in market efficiency. Gradually expanding processes of integration unfolded in the long-run. Early modern regional integration was widespread but uneven, with North-Western Europe reaching high levels of integration at a particularly early stage. Low-land European markets tended to be larger and better integrated than in land-locked Europe, especially within large, centralised states. In the nineteenth century, national markets grew in old states, but continental and domestic dynamics had become strictly linked.

Keywords: International and Domestic Trade, Transport costs, Geography, Economic Integration, Grain Markets, Factor Analysis, Europe, Pre-1913.
JEL Classification: N13, F15, C38

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Last updated May 30, 2012