A History of Market Performance: From Ancient Babylonia to the Modern World

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R.J. Van der Spek, Jan Luiten van Zanden, Bas van Leeuwen
Routledge, Sep 4, 2014 - Business & Economics - 592 pages

This exciting new volume examines the development of market performance from Antiquity until the dawn of the Industrial Revolution.

Efficient market structures are agreed by most economists to serve as evidence of economic prosperity, and to be prerequisites for further economic growth. However, this is the first study to examine market performance as a whole, over such a large time period. Presenting a hitherto unknown and inaccessible corpus of data from ancient Babylonia, this international set of contributors are for the first time able to offer an in-depth study of market performance over a period of 2,500 years.

The contributions focus on the market of staple crops, as they were crucial goods in these societies. Over this entire period, all papers provide a similar conceptual and methodological framework resting on a common definition of market performance combined with qualitative and quantitative analyses resting on new and improved price data. In this way, the book is able to combine analysis of the Babylonian period with similar work on the Roman, Early-and Late Medieval and Early Modern period.

Bringing together input from assyriologists, ancient historians, economic historians and economists, this volume will be crucial reading for all those with an interest in ancient history, economic history and economics.


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markets from Ancient Babylonia to the modern world
Part I Methodology
Part II Market performance in Babylonia and the Mediterranean in antiquity
Part III Market performance from the Middle Ages to the nineteenth century
Part IV Markets and money
Part V Longterm patterns
Part VI Conclusion
monthly prices in Babylon grams of silver per 100 litres and per mina 05 kg

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About the author (2014)

Prof. Dr. R.J. van der Spek is professor of Ancient Mediterranean and West-Asiatic History at the VU University (Vrije Universiteit), Amsterdam.

Prof. Dr. J.L. van Zanden is faculty professor of global economic history at Utrecht University, the Netherlands.

Dr. Bas van Leeuwen is senior researcher at Warwick University, UK and postdoc researcher at the VU University Amsterdam and Utrecht University, the Netherlands.

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