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Agriculture and Industrialization: From the Eighteenth Century to the Present Day


By setting industrialization against the background of wider processes of economic growth, recent trends in economic history have once again placed agriculture at the center of debate on the formation of modern economies. The nine essays in this volume examine the broader terms and implications of this new emphasis, and reassess the contribution of agriculture to economic growth in contexts that range from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries and from Europe to Russia and Asia.

The essays are tightly focused around a set of central themes. Emphasizing how contexts of time and place have determined the relationship between agricultural change and economic growth, they explore comparatively such issues as the problems of interpretation and methodology posed by the close inter-dependence between agriculture and social organization, the critical role of political intervention in agricultural change, as well as the technical difficulties involved in measuring changes in productivity and their wider impact on economic growth. As a result the volume offers a uniquely broad but coherent and critical assessment of current trends in the interpretation of agriculture's major but complex historical role in modern economic growth.

Peter Mathias is former Master of Downing College, Cambridge, and Chichele Professor of Economic History in Oxford.

John A. Davis holds the Emiliana Pasca Noether Chair in Modern Italian History at the University of Connecticut.


Editors' Introduction.

1. Land and Labour Productivity in English Agriculture 1650-1850: Mark Overton (University of Essex).

2. Agriculture and Economic Growth in Britain 1870-1914: F. M. L. Thompson (London University).

3. Apropos the Third Agricultural Revolution: How Productive was British Agriculture in the Long Boom 1954-1973?: B. A. Holderness (University of East Anglia).

4. Railways and the Development of Agricultural Markets in France: Opportunity and Crisis (1840-1914): Roger Price (University of Wales at Aberystwyth).

5. Agriculture and Industrialization in France 1870-1914: Colin Heywood (University of Nottingham).

6. Italy - The Eternal 'Late-Comer'?: Paul Corner (University of Siena).

7. Agriculture and Industrialization: The Japanese Experience: Kaoru Sugihara (University of London).

8. Agriculture and Industrialization in Colonial India: David Washbrook (University of Oxford).

9. Soviet Agriculture and Industrialization: Mark Harrison (University of Warwick).