The Cost of Capital and Medieval Agricultural Technique

The Cost of Capital and Medieval Agricultural Technique

By Gregory Clark

Explorations in Economic History, Vol. 25, issue 3 (1998)

Abstract: The rate of return to capital in England before 1350 was at least two and a half times its level subsequent to 1750. The extent and timing of this fall is examined using rent charges and the returns on holding land from 1151 till 1850. High interest rates explain several features of the medieval economy, including most elements of the much debated open-fieId system, Further the low yields of medieval grain producers, also the subject of some debate, can be shown to be at least partly explicable by the high interest costs of land improvements.

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