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Building an English wheat annual series in an intriguing era (1645-1761): Methodology, Challenges and Opportunities. A first assessment from the relationship between Landrace seeds and the Agrarian Revolution

José Luis Martínez-González

No 1613, Documentos de Trabajo (DT-AEHE) from Asociación Española de Historia Económica

Abstract: This article presents a new methodology to elaborate various British wheat annual series, in physical units, during an intriguing period: 1645-1761. Under this perspective, it can be proved that the recent agrarian GDP which appears in the literature is very precise. Davenant’s Law follows the logic of a minor crop variability in the long term, but it is also in keeping with the yield obtained from probate inventories, farm accounts and weather changes. This takes us to consider the idea that it was a common rule, not just intellectual speculation. Income was not a factor of decision of consumption until the middle of the 18th century. However, it gradually became more and more important since then.Lengthening the series until 1884 we observe a period of stagnation of production in the second half of the 18th century followed by a spectacular take off. Under a physical and environmental perspective, the timing of the Agrarian Revolution seems to be a phenomenon prior to 1750 and later than 1800. In a first practical assessment of the series with the example of the landrace seeds, everything seems to indicate that their improvement might have been one of the keys of the first wave of the agrarian change.

Keywords: Wheat annual series; England; Early Modern Age; Davenant’s Law; Agrarian Revolution; Seeds; Climate (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: N53 Q11 Q54 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-agr and nep-his
Date: 2016-06
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