Stevens M. (2006) Women’s work in early 14th-century Wales

April 27, 2008

Stevens Matthew (2006) “Reassessing urban women’s work before the Black Death: a case study, 1300-49”, paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Economic History Society, Reading, 6 p.

This article is available on line.


This paper focuses on the borough of Ruthin is Wales, an active market town, during the first half of the 14th century to explore female involvement in the urban labour market. Two models have been proposed by historians:David Herlihy considers that by 1250 female participation to urban economic enterprises peaked and soon after declined until the Black Death (1349) when labour shortage reversed that trend. After the plague women’s role in the urban workforce declined steadily. Read the rest of this entry »

Abelor G. (1973) The great alteration of the French roads in the 18th century

April 20, 2008

Arbellot Guy (1973) “La grande mutation des routes de France au XVIIIe siècle”, Annales. Histoire, Sciences Sociales, 28/3. 765-791.

This article is available on line.


When Louis XIV died (1715), the roads of the kingdom he was leaving to his successor were in a dreadful state. This was a major bottleneck for the growing economic and administrative activities. The controleur général (finance secretary) Orry and the intendant Trudaine decided to repair the old roads and build new ones where carts and coaches could travel fast. Read the rest of this entry »

Clark G. and Hamilton G. (2006) Survival of the richest in pre-industrial England

April 13, 2008

Clark Gregory and Hamilton Gillian (2006) “Survival of the Richest : The Malthusian Mechanism in Pre-Industrial England”, Journal of Economic History, 66/3, 707-736.

Clark and Hamilton

All the tables and figures of this post have been shamelessly stolen from this article available on line.


The ‘Malthusian’ model of pre-industrial societies depicts a situation in which “incomes are kept at subsistence levels by the interaction of fertility and land supply” (707). Although, due to a chronic lack of sources, the relationship implied by this model between wealth and reproductive success has proved elusive(708). Different studies contradict each other (709). Life expectancy did not seem to significantly rise during the periods of high wages such as the 15th century. Similarly, over the pre-industrial era it appears that was only a slight correlation between higher grain price and reduced fertility (a doubling of prices would on average only lead to a reduction in fertility inferior to 15%). Read the rest of this entry »

Seasons and history

April 7, 2008

This is my first post dedicated to… well… me. I’ll try not to bother too often with those, but I need to put my ideas in order.

As far as I can tell (my knowledge is limited) the problem of seasonality has pretty much been ignored by economic historians. At best it took a paragraph to deal with it here and there, but year-on-year trends have always received more attention. Yet it is quite obvious that seasonality is a very interesting subject that could shed a new light on topics such as pre-modern growth, living conditions, etc. Read the rest of this entry »

Epstein S. R. (2000) The late medieval integration crisis

April 6, 2008

Epstein Stephen R. (2000) “The late medieval crisis as “integration crisis’” in idem Freedom and Growth. The rise of states and markets in Europe, 1300-1750, New York/London: Routledge/LSE, 38-72.


The post-war historians thought ‘traditional societies’ did not experienced growth in per caput income due to the lack of technological innovation. But recent research has shown they could be much more productive then formerly thought, so pre-modern societies operated well below their potential: technology was not a fundamental constraint. In agriculture, only a handful of regions were reaching their technological frontier: Essex, Flanders, Lombardy, etc. Elsewhere, the bulk of the medieval innovations was still to be introduced (38). Commercial progress also allowed specialisation to take place, but warfare regularly reversed these improvements (39). Read the rest of this entry »


April 3, 2008

At the USC

Eric Carlson (Gustavus Adolphus Colleg) Saturday, April 19, 10 am-12 pm, Huntington Library Overseers’ Room. Early Modern British History Seminar, EMSI


Kevin Terraciano, April 17, History Department Colloquium: Settler Colonialism in Comparative Perspective : “Secondary Settler Colonizers: Indian Allies of the Spaniards in the Conquest of Mexico”. Details.