Book Series Comparative Rural History Network- Publications, vol. 15

Measuring Agricultural Growth

Land and Labour Productivity in Western Europe from the Middle Ages to the Twentieth Century (England, France and Spain)

Gérard Béaur, Jean-Michel Chevet (eds)

  • Pages: 191 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Illustrations:5 b/w
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2014

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-51986-9
  • Paperback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-56565-1
  • E-book
  • Available


Jean-Michel Chevet is a French researcher at ADESSS-UMR-5185 and the Institut Scientifique de la Vigne et du Vin in Bordeaux. He specialises in the economic history of the countryside, particularly French and English growth and the history of vine-growing.

Gérard Béaur is directeur des recherches at the CNRS and directeur d’études at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences sociales (EHESS). He is a specialist in Early Modern economic history and also works extensively on agrarian history. He is a member of the research group, Centre de Recherches Historiques in Paris and directs the International Research Network (GDRI), Crises and Changes in the European Countryside (CRICEC), part of the French CNRS.


This work takes a new look at the question of agricultural production and productivity and reopens the issue of agricultural growth and the questions that still surround its extraordinary impact on European societies. The nine contributions making up the volume set out another approach to this unprecedented shift, written from a new angle with new methods and a new way of associating micro and macro analyses.

These chapters also make a break with the illusion of a single and dominant English or Anglo-Dutch model, and take a critical look against preconceptions that consist of interpreting everything in terms of advances or delays, and of ignoring the context behind the economic decisions made by producers. This collection makes it possible to get away from the eternal confrontation of French and English models, and to change the picture by careful consideration of another country with its own very specific natural and institutional conditions: Spain. It sets out to analyse some of the paths taken by farmers to overcome the constraints under which they operated, using historical experience and statistical analysis, without preconceived ideas.

These papers do not hesitate to cross traditional chronological boundaries and look at different scales of production, at different times and in different places. They make incursions into a subject that is still crucial to present-day society, at a moment when the future of the food supply on much of the planet is as urgent and acute as ever.


List of Contributors – List of Figures – List of Tables – List of Illustrations

Jean-Michel Chevet and Gérard Béaur, Introduction. A New Look at Agricultural Growth – Bruce M. S. Campbell, Unit Land Values as a Guide to Agricultural Land Productivity in Medieval England – Annie Antoine, The Dubious Delights of Farm Accounts – Jean Duma, Land and Growth in the Eighteenth Century: the métairies of Garaison and their Accounts, or the Uncertainties of Growth – José-Miguel Lana Berasain, Dormant Agriculture? Some Evidence of Agricultural Change in Nineteenth-Century Navarre – María Teresa Pérez Picazo (†), Reducing Production Costs and Improving Productivity in the Agrarian Systems of the Southeast Iberian Peninsula during the Nineteenth Century: a Micro-Economic Approach – Tim J. A. Le Goff, Agricultural Production and Productivity in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century France: New Evidence from the Hospices de Dijon – Donald M. G. Sutherland, Productivity and Farm Management. The Hospitals of Le Mans, 1661–– Jean-Michel Chevet, The Growth of Plough Team Production during the Nineteenth Century in the Île-de-France – Paul Brassley, Agricultural Output, Costs and Incomes in the United Kingdom 1919–