The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing But the Truth: The English Corn Returns as a Data Source in Economic History, 1770-1914

50 Pages Posted: 25 Jun 2013

See all articles by Liam Brunt

Liam Brunt

NHH - Norwegian School of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

E. S. Cannon

University of Bristol - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 2013

Abstract

From 1770 to 1914, the British Government collected weekly price and quantity data for all types of grain traded in many market towns; these ‘Corn Returns’ were published in the London Gazette. We computerised the data published 1770-1864, totalling around 6 million data points. Here we describe the nature of these data; discuss why, when and how they were collected; consider their accuracy and biases; describe how we computerised them; and offer caveats in using these – and similar – data. We highlight the problem of drawing valid inferences in the face of price impact from fluctuating grain quality and rising imports.

Keywords: data collection, markets

JEL Classification: C81, N53

Suggested Citation

Brunt, Liam and Cannon, Edmund Stuart, The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing But the Truth: The English Corn Returns as a Data Source in Economic History, 1770-1914 (June 2013). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP9515. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2284605

Liam Brunt (Contact Author)

NHH - Norwegian School of Economics ( email )

Department of Economics
Helleveien 30
N-5035 Bergen, Hordaland
Norway

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Edmund Stuart Cannon

University of Bristol - Department of Economics ( email )

Senate House
Tyndall Avenue
Bristol BS8 ITH
United Kingdom

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