DP10530 | Weather shocks and English wheat yields, 1690-1871

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05/04/2015

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Abstract

We estimate a time series model of weather shocks on English wheat yields for the early nineteenth century and use it to predict weather effects on yield levels from 1697 to 1871. This reveals that yields in the 1690s were depressed by unusually poor weather; and those in the late 1850s were inflated by unusually good weather. This has led researchers to overestimate the underlying growth of yields over the period by perhaps 50 per cent. Correcting for this effect would largely reconcile the conflicting primal and dual estimates of productivity growth over the period.