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Published February 2011 | public
Journal Article

Prices, the military revolution, and western Europe's comparative advantage in violence


Price data from England, France, and Germany show that the military sector in western Europe experienced rapid and sustained productivity growth well before the industrial revolution.The productivity growth has implications for the history of the military revolution in early modern Europe and helps explain why western Europe gained a comparative advantage in violence. It also raises questions about the economic impact of the military revolution.

Additional Information

© 2010 Economic History Society. Published by Blackwell Publishing. Date submitted 9 March 2008; Revised version submitted 5 September 2009; Accepted 14 October 2009. Article first published online: 8 Jun. 2010. I wish to thank Greg Clark, Dan Klerman, Naomi Lamoreaux, Bozhong Li, Peter Lindert, Kate Norberg, Jean-Laurent Rosenthal, the late Ken Sokoloff, and participants at seminars at LSE, UC Davis, UCLA, USC, and Yale for their suggestions and criticisms; Clark, Li, and Lindert also generously shared data. Research for this paper was supported by National Science Foundation Grant 0433358 as part of the Global Prices and Incomes Project.

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