Variations in the price and quality of English grain, 1750-1914: Quantitative evidence and empirical implications

Liam Brunt, Edmund S Cannon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
336 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Interpretation of historic grain price data may be hazardous owing to systematic grain quality variation — both cross sectionally and over varying time horizons (intra-year, inter-year, long run). We use the English wheat market, 1750–1914, as an example to quantify this issue. First, we show that bushel weight approximates grain quality. Then we show that cross sectional and intra-year variation are substantial and problematic, generating erroneous inference regarding market integration. Long run variation is significant, due to sharply declining international quality differentials, and this impacts estimated cost of living changes. By contrast, inter-year variation is smaller and controlled for more easily.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-92
Number of pages19
JournalExplorations in Economic History
Volume58
Early online date18 Jun 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2015

Keywords

  • Grain quality
  • Measurement error
  • Markets
  • Cost of living

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