The Journal of European Economic History - 2015 issue 3

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Between Conflicts and Commerce: The Impact of Institutions and Wars on Swedish-Portuguese Trade, 1686-1815
This paper is related to a multiyear project aimed at compiling new data on the early modern trade flows between smaller (or weaker) states. It presents a quantitative analysis of the nature and volume of trade between Sweden and Portugal during the period in question, seeking to identify long-run changes in these flows and to determine whether institutional changes and wars fundamentally altered the composition, trends, or volume of trade. First, it appears that trade between Portugal and Sweden hinged on only a few key commodities, most importantly iron from Sweden and salt from Portugal. In particular, we found that Portugal was somewhat more dependent on Swedish iron than Sweden was on Portuguese salt, since Sweden could also import the salt it needed from other regions. Second, we discovered that institutional arrangements and changes did affect Portuguese-Swedish trade, which they stabilized to some extent. Third, we argue that external shocks, mainly wars, had a slight negative effect on the bilateral trade, although some periods of war also offered new trading opportunities to non-belligerents. In general, the bilateral trade flows were fairly stable over this period and increased substantially during the 18th century.
The Mediterranean Connections of Basque Ports (1700-1841): Trade, Trust and Networks
This research analyses the commercial relationships between Basque and the Mediterranean ports from the beginning of the eighteenth century until the first third of the nineteenth century, when the customs were moved to the coast. Although part of a wider international network, these connections must be considered a strategic relationship to both parties. The research delves into the lives, the evolution and the strategies put into practice by Mediterranean merchants who settled in Basque ports and Basque merchants who, without moving to other ports, strengthened their commercial ties, thanks to a combination of kinship, ethnicity and marriage between traders’ families. Epistolary correspondence of some traders not only brings to light daily details and methods implemented by merchants in order to succeed, but also allows us to measure or at least get an approximate idea of the uncertainty, insecurity and dangers they faced during their commercial activity.
An Economic Perspective on the Irish Tithe War of 1831-1838
The conversion of the Irish tithe from a 10 per cent output tax to a lump-sum land tax in 1823 was not the equitable reform advocated by Parliament. Given the new tax’s revenue-neutral design, the reform was expected to confer a benefit on tillage farmers through the sharing of the tax liability with graziers who had previously been exempted. However, this new tax indirectly enabled landlords to raise rents on their lands already under tillage by an amount that would completely offset the tax-sharing benefit. Moreover, the new tithe did not carry over the revenue-sharing properties of the original tithe and, thus, farmers on small lots, who were unable to materially expand their tillage operations, could not earn additional revenue to compensate for the greater financial risk they would bear-risk associated with the variability in their incomes from fluctuating crop yields pursuant to random weather. Many small risk-averse tillage farmers were, therefore, net losers under this reform. The peaceful agrarian tax rebellion that emerged from these oversights eventually turned violent and became known as the Irish Tithe War of 1831

A Note on Danish Living Standards using Historical Wage Series, 1731-1913
This paper makes use of published information on wages and prices in Denmark to construct consistent real wage series for the period 1731-1913 that can be compared with those for other countries. The comparative perspective demonstrates that whereas in the eighteenth century the Danish economy was relatively poor and backward, by the 1870s Copenhagen had one of the highest standards of living in Europe. Interestingly, this was before the introduction of stream-driven cooperative creameries, which suggests the conjecture that high wages may have provided an incentive to mechanize and were not simply the consequence of the subsequent productivity increases, in agriculture in particular.

The Disasters of Leviathan: The Economic Crisis of Autarky in Spain, 1939-1959
This article reflects on the causes of the acute crisis suffered by Spain during the decades following the victory of General Franco in the Civil War. It emphasises the incoherence of the totalitarian economic model that was imposed, particularly with respect to the objective of autarky. It also highlights the insufficient economic training of the bureaucrats and the active role of military commanders in the design of economic policy, including General Franco, who lacked any sort of economic or historical knowledge.

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