Britnell R. H. (2001) Specialization in England, 1100-1300

January 27, 2008

Britnell Richard H. (2001) “Specialization of work in England, 1100-1300”, Economic History Review, 54/1, 1-16.


The 12th and 13th centuries experienced growing population. The more people, the more likely it is that some will become specialized in an activity where they enjoy a comparative advantage (see Adam Smith). Persson has estimated that this led to a 0.1 to 0.25 yearly increase of productivity per caput in England over two centuries (i.e. between 22 and 62% for the whole period). But to what extend the period’s productivity gains are attributable to specialization? Read the rest of this entry »

Flynn D. O. (1991) Japan and Spain as silver-based empires in a global setting

January 20, 2008

Flynn Dennis O. (1991) “Comparing the Tokagawa Shogunate with Hapsburg Spain: Two silver-based empires in a global setting”, in Tracy James D. ed., The Political Economy of Merchant Empires. State power and world trade 1350-1750, New York: Cambridge University Press, 332-359.

This book is available on google for every one to read!!!

Estimations find Spanish American empire’s silver production at 300 metric tons per year during the 16th and early 17th century and Japan’s – the second largest world producer – at 200 (332). Over the period, 15,000 tons went from America to Europe and 13,000 directly from Mexico to Philippines (335) Japan exported 10,000 tons (336). Yet, this enormous annual production only represented 1 or 2% of the world’s silver stock at the time. Read the rest of this entry »

Brad Delong: Longue durée

January 7, 2008