Grantham G. (1999) Contra Ricardo: unexpected growth

December 21, 2008

Grantham George (1999) “Contra Ricardo: On the macroeconomics of pre-industrial economies”, European Review of Economic History, 2/2, 199-232.


The Classical Approach (Ricardian trap): “The narrative line of [European] history is driven by a sequence of exogenous productivity and mortality shocks that worked themselves out in time through the feedbacks between living standards and population density, in which periods of growth were succeeded by periods of contraction induced” by declining labour productivity.”
Read the rest of this entry »


Kessler D. and T. Peter (2007) The grain trade in the Roman Empire

June 1, 2008

Kessler David and Temin Peter (2007) “The organization of the grain trade in the early Roman Empire”, Economic History Review, 60/2, 313–332.

“Long-distance trade […] was beset by information problems”. Principal-agent issues have been studied for the medieval/early modern period, this article extends the scope to the Roman merchants. Who did they deal with asymmetric information? In particular how did the logistical nightmare that consisted of providing wheat to Rome’s inhabitants was overcome (313)? After the end of organized piracy in 67 BC, there was still a significant amount of uncertainty for the merchants. How did they managed their agents often located months away in distant provinces? Read the rest of this entry »

Scheidel W. (2005) Economics of slavery in the Greco-Roman world

December 16, 2007

Scheidel Walter 2005 ‘The comparative economics of slavery in the Greco-Roman world’, Princeton/Stanford Working Papers in Classics, Nov. ’05, 21p.

Large scale slavery occurs rarely in history, Ancient Greece and Italy are exceptions. Why? The slave population in Athens and Rome can be very roughly estimated at about a third of the total, a proportion consistent with the one of ante bellum Southern USA (2). Read the rest of this entry »