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Published December 14, 2016 | Published
Conference Paper Open

Why Is It That Europeans Ended Up Conquering the Rest of the Globe? Prices, the Military Revolution, and Western Europe's Comparative Advantage in Violence


Preliminary data from England and France show that the relative price of artillery, handguns, and gunpowder declined between the fourteenth century and the eighteenth century. Prices fell relative to the cost of factors of production, and the price decline suggests that the military sector of western European economies experienced sustained technical change before the Industrial Revolution – a claim in accord with qualitative evidence from research on the late medieval and early modern military revolution. The price data shed new light on this revolution and point to a potential explanation for why western Europe developed a comparative advantage in violence over the rest of the world.

Additional Information

Philip T. Hoffman Towards a Global History of Prices and Wages, 19-21 Aug. 2004 http://www.iisg.nl/hpw/conference.html

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Published - Hoffman08082004.pdf


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