Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Göteborg Papers in Economic History,
University of Gothenburg, Department of Economic History

No 21: The ecological footprint of early-modern commodities Coefficients of land use per unit of product

Dimitrios Theodoridis ()
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Dimitrios Theodoridis: Department of Economic History, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University, Postal: Box 720, SE 40530 Göteborg, Sweden

Abstract: Land availability and overseas trade have been central topics in economic history. The current paper contributes to this literature by setting the empirical foundations necessary for the calculation of the direct ecological footprints of more than eighty traded commodities throughout the 19th and early 20th century. The main focus is placed upon products which were heavily traded by and within the British Empire during this period. Various secondary sources have been reviewed and are critically discussed while the methodological steps that have been followed for the calculation of an acreage conversion factor for each product are analyzed in detail. The data presented here can be useful for researchers examining the importance of ghost acreages and ecological footprint historically but also the role of natural resources and land use in a long term perspective.

Keywords: ecological footprint; trade; 19th century; ghost acres; Britain; land productivity

JEL-codes: N01; N50; N70; Q16; Q17

88 pages, February 14, 2017

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