The Roots of European Economic Dominance

Project leader

Funding source

Swedish Research Council - Vetenskapsrådet (VR)

Project Details

Start date: 01/01/2010
End date: 31/12/2012
Funding: 3333000 SEK


The project aims at generating new knowledge about the origin of European economic hegemony, 1200-1820. We will attempt to provide a better grounded view of the formation and change of economic core areas and peripheries in Europe based on data on prices, harvests, and technological change. We will also prepare a more systematic investigation into the relationships between the economic path of Europe and that of other major regions of the world. The project has three parts: 1. The formation of the European knowledge economy Previous research indicates that a more knowledge intensive economy evolved in western Europe from about 1500 onwards. Our question is whether or not any marked such change can be traced back to the medieval era. 2. Harvests, prices, and welfare, 1400-1820 By linking grain prices to harvest data we aim at answering two questions: a) How were grain markets formed and integrated? b) When, and to what extent, were living conditions in Europe stabilized through declining short-term fluctuations in harvests and prices? 3. The path dependence of agrarian technological change We test the hypothesis that a few fundamental agricultural systems have developed in the world and that these exhibit a pattern of gradually evolving path dependence. A total survey is carried out with the aim of covering technological change in agricultural in the area from Scandinavia to the British isles, France, Germany, and if possible also eastern Europe.

Last updated on 2017-31-03 at 12:58