Market Integration in China, AD 960-1644

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Book chapter

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A history of market performance: From ancient Babylonia to the modern world

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This chapter explores the market performance in pre-industrial China by comparing food prices and per capita money stocks in the Song (AD 960-1279) and Ming dynasties (AD 1368-1644). As recent economic research seems to show, macro-level stability based on increasing market performance is a necessary, although not sufficient, condition for pre-industrial growth. This increase in a pre-industrial economy would reduce the price volatility caused by harvest failures and promote specialization of production. All this advances agricultural productivity and improves the living standard of farmers and consumers alike. Other studies in this book have already identified a few contributing factors that help to explain market performance (i.e. lower conditional price volatility); trade, farming technology (increasing output), storage, consumption (if people started to diversify their consumption), institutions/government and monetary developments (which affect income and prices). However, in this chapter, because of the large monetary changes that occurred in China in the period under study, I focus my analysis on long-term changes in money stocks from the Song to the Ming dynasties to define and explain the performance of food markets in these nearly seven centuries.

Additional Information

ISBN of the source publication: 9780415635448



Recommended Citation

Liu, G. (2014). Market Integration in China, AD 960-1644. In R. J. Van der Spek, Bas van Leeuwen & J. L. van Zanden (Eds.), A history of market performance: From ancient Babylonia to the modern world (pp.308-338). New York: Routledge.

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