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Agricultural growth and institutions: Sweden 1700-1860

Publiceringsår: 2010
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 275-304
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: European Review of Economic History
Volym: 14
Dokumenttyp: Artikel i tidskrift
Förlag: Cambridge University Press


The dating and explanation of the agricultural revolution in Europe remains an elusive research task. When and why did a low-productive pre-industrial agricultural sector turn into a fast-growing, more productive one? Unique data from Sweden, consisting of more than 80,000 observations of farm production output for the period 1700–1860, is used to calculate and explain decisive changes in pre-industrial agricultural production. Our estimations show that crop production more than quadrupled during the period studied and from the 1780s and onwards production growth by far outstripped population growth. Furthermore, the data allows us to estimate the determinants of change on individual farm level. The results show that enclosures, markets and property rights were of significant importance. Institutional changes, affecting the incentives and the organisation of production, made peasants invest in production and productivity. In a general sense this shows the flexibility and awareness of pre-industrial European peasants in exploiting markets and initiating institutional change.


  • Economic History
  • nineteenth century
  • Sweden
  • institutions
  • agriculture
  • growth
  • eighteenth century


  • ISSN: 1474-0044

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