Langfristiges Agrarwachstum in Deutschland, ca. 1500–1880: ein Überblick

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The study reviews evidence produced with different methods to track output and productivity in agriculture during the pre-statistical era and derives a characterization of the long-term evolution of the agricultural sector in Germany during the threeand-a-half centuries prior to the transition to modern economic growth. The three methods are: (1) An indirect estimation of agricultural output using a consumption function; (2) returns from tithes and sharecropping as proxies for grain production; and (3) an estimate of total factor productivity (TFP) using product prices and rents of input factors. Yield ratios and a TFP estimate for four estates in Westphalia suggest stagnant productivity during the seventeenth and eighteenth century in most parts of Germany. Feeding an expanding population thus required more intensive cultivation of land at a declining marginal product of labour, testified by a rising rent-wage ratio and an expansion of the arable. Regions situated in the neighbourhood of proto-industrial were exceptions to this general picture: at least from c. 1740 output grew in line with population there, and output per agricultural worker rose. Nevertheless, the effects of demand from proto-industrial workers on agricultural growth was weaker compared to effect of expanding urban populations in north-western Europe. Only the emergence of modern industry from the 1830s set a strong stimulus to agricultural modernization.

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Verlag DLG-Verlag
  
  
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