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A Market Economy in the Early Roman Empire

Peter Temin

No _039, Oxford Economic and Social History Working Papers from University of Oxford, Department of Economics

Abstract: I argue that the economy of the early Roman Empire was primarily a market economy. The parts of this economy located far from each other were not tied together as tightly as markets often are today, but they still functioned as part of a comprehensive Mediterranean market. This conclusion is important because it brings the description of the Roman economy as a whole into accord with the fragmentary evidence we have about individual market transactions. In addition, this synthetic view provides a platform on which to investigate further questions about the origins and eventual demise of the Roman economy and about conditions for the formation and preservation of markets in general.

Date: 2001-03-01
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