Lives versus livelihoods in the middle ages: The impact of the plague on trade over 400 years

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Abstract

To what extent did outbreaks of bubonic plague disrupt trade? We estimate the impact of epidemics on trade between regional wheat markets over four centuries — from the Black Death in the 14th century, until the medieval form of the plague became extinct in the 17th century. Using a gravity model, we find that outbreaks had a statistically significant, but relatively modest, impact on local variations in wheat prices. The results provide quantitative evidence on the extent to which epidemics disrupted markets and trade in pre-industrial Europe.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104654
JournalEuropean Economic Review
Volume162
Early online date27 Dec 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024

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