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Variations in the Price and Quality of English Grain, 1750-1914: Quantitative Evidence and Empirical Implications.

75 Pages Posted: 17 Apr 2015  

Liam Brunt

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

E. S. Cannon

University of Bristol - Department of Economics

Date Written: March 27, 2015

Abstract

Interpretation of historic grain price data may be hazardous owing to systematic grain quality variation – both cross sectionally and over varying time horizons (intra-year, inter-year, long run). We use the English wheat market, 1750-1914, as an example to quantify this issue. First, we show that bushel weight approximates grain quality. Then we show that cross sectional and intra-year variation are substantial and problematic, generating erroneous inference regarding market integration. Long run variation is significant, due to sharply declining international quality differentials, and this impacts estimated cost of living changes. By contrast, inter-year variation is smaller and controlled for more easily.

Keywords: Grain quality, markets, cost of living.

JEL Classification: N01, N50, Q13.

Suggested Citation

Brunt, Liam and Cannon, E. S., Variations in the Price and Quality of English Grain, 1750-1914: Quantitative Evidence and Empirical Implications. (March 27, 2015). NHH Dept. of Economics Discussion Paper No. 6/2015. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2594762 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2594762

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)

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
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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