Market conditions in preindustrial Poland, 1500-1772

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In this paper I investigate commodity market integration, market efficiency and market performance in preindustrial Eastern Europe. In particular, I look at the Polish rye market between 1500 and 1772. I analyse annual rye price data from seven cities. The results suggest that market conditions in Poland in the sixteenth century were relatively favourable. The market disintegrated in the seventeenth century. Afterwards, Polish markets remained relatively segmented, in contrast to many Western European countries whose markets thrived in the eighteenth century. This supports the hypothesis that even before the Industrial Revolution there was the Little Divergence in economic development between western and eastern Europe. The disintegration crisis in Poland was linked to the separation of landlocked cities from the common market. After the seventeenth century, cities located on the Vistula river enjoyed better market conditions and remained better integrated than the landlocked ones. The long-term market crisis may have resulted from the devastating warfare in the mid-seventeenth century.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Economic History
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-276
JournalEconomic History of Developing Regions
Issue number2-3
Early online date2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Sep
Publication categoryResearch