Epidemic Trade

38 Pages Posted: 29 Jul 2011

See all articles by Lars Boerner

Lars Boerner

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Economic History

Battista Severgnini

Copenhagen Business School - Department of Economics

Date Written: July 27, 2011

Abstract

This paper studies the spread of the Black Death as a proxy for the flow of medieval trade between 1346 and 1351. The Black Death struck most areas of Europe and the wider Mediterranean. Based on a modified version of the gravity model, we estimate the speed (in kilometers per day) of transmission of the disease between the transmitting and the receiving cities. We find that the speed depends on distance, political borders, and on the political importance of a city. Furthermore, variables related to the means of transportation like rivers and the sea, religious seasons such as advent and lent, and geographical position are of substantial significance. These results are the first to enable us to identify and quantify key variables of medieval trade flows based on an empirical trade model. These results shed new light on many qualitative debates on the importance and causes of medieval trade.

Keywords: Trade, Middle Ages, Black Death, Gravity Model, Poisson Regression

JEL Classification: F10, F15, N13

Suggested Citation

Boerner, Lars and Severgnini, Battista, Epidemic Trade (July 27, 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1896603 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1896603

Lars Boerner (Contact Author)

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Economic History ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/site/larsboerner/

Battista Severgnini

Copenhagen Business School - Department of Economics ( email )

Porcelænshaven 16 A, 1
Frederiksberg C, DK-2000
Denmark

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