More Crappy Research

25 September 2007 at 9:16 am Leave a comment

| Peter Klein |

We’ve written before about the history of industrial recycling, how waste products, both natural (manure, animal parts) and man-made (scrap metal, old rags), were frequently collected and re-used, for profit, at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution.

Now comes another paper on the market for manure: Liam Brunt’s “Where There’s Muck, There’s Brass: The Market for Manure in the Industrial Revolution” (Economic History Review 60, no. 2, May 2007, 333-72). (Non-gated version here.) Writes Brunt:

In this paper we present the first detailed assessment of off-farm manure in English agriculture, by quantifying the use of 21 varieties. We consider how many people were using each type of manure; how much they were using; and the total effect on wheat yields. . . . We show that by 1770 there were local, regional and even international markets for manure; and we can explain the pattern of manure use by supply and demand. We estimate that off-farm manure raised yields by a steady 20 per cent throughout the period 1700 to 1840.

I suppose I could have titled this post (channelling Tyler Cowen) “Markets in Everything: ________ Edition” (fill in the blank yourself).

Entry filed under: - Klein -, Business/Economic History, Institutions.

Knightian Uncertainty Workshop Innovation Without Patents

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