Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Stockholm Papers in Economic History,
Stockholm University, Department of Economic History

No 1: Harvests, prices and population in early modern Sweden

Rodney Edvinsson ()
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Rodney Edvinsson: Dept. of Economic History, Stockholm University, Postal: Department of Economic History , Stockholm University , SE 106 91 STOCKHOLM, Sweden

Abstract: Today, one of the greatest challenges facing macroeconomic history is to quantify economic growth in the early modern period. This paper presents and discusses a series of total and per capita harvest production in Sweden within present borders for the period 1665-1820. The series is based on three main indices: grain prices, subjective harvest assessments and tithes. To calculate per capita production the size of population must be known. In this paper, population growth in Sweden during the 17th century is revised downwards compared to recent studies. The basic finding is that per capita harvests stagnated during the studied period. The annual fluctuations were substantial. Another finding is that, in the short-run, grain prices were more affected by domestic harvests than foreign prices.

Keywords: economic history; agriculture; price history; GDP; early modern period; historical demography; Sweden

JEL-codes: E30; J11; N13; N53; Q11

72 pages, August 11, 2008

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