The Efficiency of Markets in Preindustrial Societies


Academy Colloquium 

“The efficiency of Markets in Pre-industrial societies: the case of Babylonia (c. 400-60 BC) in comparative perspective” (19 – 21 May 20f11)

Monthly prices of barley, dates, cuscuta, cress, sesame, and wool in Babylon, ca. 350-65BC (excel)

Programme* (click here for PDF version)

Thursday, 19 May 2011

8.30 – 9.00h.
Informal welcome with coffee and tea.

President morning sessions: Bert van der Spek

A. Discussion of research topic and methodology 

9.00 – 10.50h.    

Introduction to the corpus of Babylonian prices. Introduction to research topic and method
R.J. van der Spek

- Statistical analysis of time series: the Babylonian price data
S.J. Koopman, VU Amsterdam 

Price Volatility and Welfare
K.G. Persson, Copenhagen University

10.50 – 11.20h.       Break

B. Market and Prices in Babylonia (first millennium BC)

11.20 – 12.40h.

Market Efficiency and Market Integration in Babylonia in the "Long Sixth Century" BC
M. Jursa, Vienna    

Famine in Babylonia. A micro-historical approach to market integration in 6th century Babylonia
K. Kleber, VU Amsterdam 

12.35 – 13.45h        Lunch

President afternoon session: Michael Jursa

C. Hellenistic Babylonia and the Seleucid Empire

13.50 – 15.30h.

- Markets in Ancient Societies? The Structural Analysis of Babylonian Price Data
- Risk aversion and storage in pre-industrial economies: from Babylonian times until the industrial revolution
P. Földvári, Utrecht University; B. van Leeuwen, VU Amsterdam (2 papers)

- Exogenous shocks and Babylonian commodity prices
- Climate, War and Economic Development: the case of Babylon
Paper 1: R. Pirngruber. Paper 2: J.A.M. Huijs, VU Amsterdam; B. van Leeuwen, VU Amsterdam (2 papers)

15.30 – 16.00h.   Break 

16.00 – 17.30h.  

Taxation and Money in the Seleukid empire
G.G. Aperghis, Athens/London

- The Economy of the Prebendary System in Hellenistic Uruk
J. Monerie, Paris

- On some price observations and affiliated data recorded in Late Achaemenid and Early Hellenistic archival texts from Northern Babylonia
J. Hackl, Vienna

17.30 – 19.30h.       Reception at the Trippenhuis.

Friday, 20 May 2011

President morning sessions: Jan Luiten van Zanden

D. Declining and emerging markets

9.00 – 10.40h

- Early Islamic Egypt
P. Sijpesteijn, Leiden

Islamic Real Wages, Demographic shock and Economic Performance in the Early Medieval Near East
M. Shatzmiller, University of Western Ontario

Land, Lease and Labour in Iraq, 600-1100. Some preliminary thoughts on factor markets, their context and effects
B. van Bavel, Utrecht University; Michele Campopiano, Utrecht University; Jessica Dijkman, Utrecht University

10.40 – 11.00h.       Break

E1. The circulation of money and economic history: Rome and Syria

11.00 – 12.30h.

- A frog's eye view of the Roman Economy: The Batavian casus
J. Aarts, VU Amsterdam

Circulation of Coins and Economic History in Hellenistic Syria: 6th – 1st cent. B.C.
F. Duyrat, Department of Coins, Medals and Antiques, Bibliothèque nationale de France

12.30 – 13.30h        Lunch

President afternoon sessions: Bruce Campbell

E2. The role of money and market: Pre-Islamic  Egypt  

13.30 – 15.00h.

Money, Markets and Price Formation in Ptolemaic Egypt (323-330 BC)
S. von Reden, Freiburg 

Grain Prices and Grain Markets in the Roman World
D. Rathbone, King’s College London 

15.00 – 15.30h:       Break

E3. The role of money and market after Antiquity

15.30 – 17.40h 

The circulation of money and the behaviour of prices in medieval and early modern England 
N. Mayhew, Oxford

The purchasing power of silver and market efficiency from a Babylonian perspective
R.J. van der Spek; B. van Leeuwen, VU Amsterdam; P. Földvári, Utrecht University   

20.00 Dinner for speakers.


Saturday, 21 May 2011  

President: Karl Gunnar Persson

F. Market efficiency: long-term patterns; interaction of crops 

* 9.00 – 10.30

- Long-run patterns in market efficiency in Babylonia, the Roman Empire and Medieval Europe and Asia, ca. 500BC - 1500 AD P.Földvári, Utrecht University; B. van Leeuwen, VU Amsterdam; Jan Luiten van Zanden, Utrecht University

-  Markets and Price Fluctuations in the Irish Rural Economy, 1785-1913
L. Kennedy, Belfast 
P. Solar, Brussels 

10.30 – 11.00 Break

G. Concluding discussion  
*11.30 – 13.00   
Inventory of results. Publication of lectures (Presidency: Persson, Van der Spek,Van Leeuwen, Van Zanden).

13.00 – 14.00  Lunch.  

* Speakers are expected to send in their paper at the latest by 20 April 2011. At the conference there are 10 minutes per person for comments. Discussion of the papers will take place per session.