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Economic Crises and the European Revolutions of 1848 Author(s): Helge Berger and Mark Spoerer Source: The Journal of Economic History, Vol. 61, No. 2 (Jun., 2001), pp. 293-326 Published by: Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Economic History Association Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2698022 Accessed: 15/08/2010 00:06
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Economic Crises and the European Revolutionsof 1848
HELGEBERGERAND MARK SPOERER
Recent historical research tends to view the 1848 revolutions in Europe as caused by a surge of radical ideas and by long-term socioeconomic problems. However, many contemporary observers interpretedmuch of the upheaval as a consequence of shortterm economic causes, specifically the serious shortfall in food supply that had shaken large parts of the Continent in 1845-1847, and the subsequent industrial slump. Applying standard quantitative methods to a data set of 27 European countries, we show that it was mainly immediate economic misery, and the fear thereof, that triggered the European revolutions of 1848.
Inthe 1990s theacceleration economicandpoliticalintegrationin Westof
of Europeled to anincreasing ernEuropeandthedemocratization Eastern interest in the turbulentyear 1848, when large parts of the Continent experienceda strivingforpolitical participationandself-determination.1 The recent sesquicentennialhas given rise to a wealth of literature,especially in countries where 1848 meant a first step towards more democratic political institutions, including Germany,Austria, Hungary,and Romania. Many of these studies reflect the scholarly trend away from social history. To be sure, even after the "culturalturn"most historians concede that structuralsocioeconomic problems contributed to rising populardiscontent. But whereasin the 1970s and 1980s long- and shortterm socioeconomic determinantswere pivotal in explanations of the
1848 revolutions, short-term economic factors now tend to be marginalized; instead, greater weight is placed on the spread of liberal and democratic ideas, and on the inflexible and increasingly outdated political institutions of the time, which were ill-suited to cope with the societal
The Journal of Economic History, Vol. 61, No. 2 (June 2001). ? The Economic History Association. All rights reserved. ISSN 0022-0507. Helge Berger, CES, University of Munich, and CESifo; Mark Spoerer, University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart;e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Address correspondence to Helge Berger, CES, Schackstrasse 4, 80539 Munich, Germany. E-mail: email@example.com. The article has benefited greatly from discussions at the 1848 Conference in Offenburg, seminars at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona), the Center for Comparative History of Europe (Berlin), and the 1998 EHA Meeting in Durham, NC. Rolf Dumke, Timothy Guinnane, Bertrand Roehner, Richard Tilly, Eugene White, and especially Sheilagh Ogilvie provided very helpful comments and suggestions. We would also like to thank Jonas Ljungberg, Lars Svensson, Jan Luiten van Zanden, and other members of the discussion group EH.RES for providing useful references and data. Michael Kopsidis was kind enough to provide data on Prussian grain prices compiled from archival sources. Additional comments by the editor, Jan de Vries, the assistant editor, Heath Pearson, and a referee considerably improved the article. See for example Kaelble, "1848."
Berger and Spoerer
problems of early industrialization.2 Surprisinglyfew authorsstress the deep economic crisis that immediately precededthe revolutionary events: that witnesstheplethora monographs mentionshort-run of economicfactors not at all or only in passing,andthe manyeditedvolumesthatlack a single paperon the economiccrisis precedingthe events of 1848.3 to Butwhileideasandinstitutions undoubtedly contribute ourunderstandfor of ing of the generalpreconditions theupheaval 1848,theyfail to explain of the timing,simultaneity, regionaldistribution the events.Here a more or observersintereconomicperspectivemightbe helpful.Manycontemporary pretedmuch of what was going on as a directconsequenceof the serious in shortfallin basic food suppliesthathad shakenthe Continent 1845-1847 and triggeredfamine and hungerriots throughoutEurope, especially in Ireland,Flanders,andSilesia.4A radicalvariantof this argument interprets the revolutionsof 1848 in the broadercontext of class conflict-a view at championed thetimeby KarlMarxandFriedrich Engels,andlaterrefined by JurgenKuczynski.5However, this materialisticview is by no means confined to Marxist historiography. Another early proponentwas Ernst Prussianstatistician, who maintained the Engel, the nineteenth-century that the economic crisis was what "triggered bomb"in manypartsof Europe.6 This strongemphasison economicfactorsis also reflectedin one strandof the Anglo-Saxon literature, rangingfromW. W. Rostow, Eric Hobsbawm,
and George Rude to Charles, Louise, and Richard Tilly.7 It is supported by
2 Issuesat stakewerethe material deprivation largepartsof the rural of population (pauperism) and in stateintervention individualaffairs,for instance,throughmilitaryconscriptionand discretionary taxation.For an overviewsee Sperber, EuropeanRevolutions, 47-49. pp. 3 Wehave systematically checkedmonographs papercollectionscoveringthe 1848 revolutions and in English,German, Latinlanguages and publishedsincethe mid-1990s fordiscussionsof short-term socioeconomicdevelopments suchas theincrease foodpricesin 1845-1847 ortheeconomicdownof turnof 1846-1848. Hobelt(1848) and Bruckmulller Hausler(1848), who analyzethe revolution and in Austria,do not discuss economicfactorsat all. Neitherdo Schroeder (Transformation) Broers nor (Europe),nor the contributionson Hungaryin Fischer(UngarischeRevolution).In the accountof For Judson(Wien)of the revolutionin Austriasocioeconomicfactorsarerarelymentioned. Switzerin land,the contributions Hildbrand Tanner and (Zeichen)do not referto economicfactors.Some of and the work on Switzerland collectedin Ernst,Tanner, Weishaupt (Revolution)does mention ecoGerman literature nomicfactors,butthesearenot foundto be causal.Evenin theabundant anniversary theeconomiccrisisis almosttotallyneglected.See DipperandSpeck,1848; Dowe, Haupt,andLange1848;Gall,1848;Hardtwig, Revolution; Jansen Mergel, and Revolution; RevoluLill, wiesche,Europa tion; Mommsen,1848; Rill, 1848; Timmermann, 1848; and Langewiesche,Revolutionen.Notable exceptionsareSperber, EuropeanRevolutions; Hahn,"Soziookonomische Ordnung"; Hein,Revoluand earlieraccountsof the 1848 revolutions tion;L6veque,Ebranlement; Stirrner, Crise.In contrast, socioeconomicfactorsin greatdetail:see for exampleStearns, Revoluanalyzedlong and short-term tions,pp. 11-35; C. Tillyet al., RebelliousCentury; Siemann,DeutscheRevolution; Pinkney,Decisive Years; Wehler, Deutsche Gesellschaftsgeschichte, 681f.; andPrice,Revohitions,pp. 7, 24-26. pp. 4 Sigmann,1848, pp. 183-85. ' Kuczynski,"Wirtschaftliche soziale Voraussetzungen." und 6Engel, "Getreidepreise," 251 (ourtranslation). p. 7Rostow, British Economy;Hobsbawm,"EconomicFluctuations"; Rud6, "WhyWas ThereNo Revolution?";C. Tilly et al., Rebellious Century;and R. Tilly, Vom Zollverein. See also Stearns,
11-20. 32-35. anddiscussingevidenceof a propagation that prolonged the crisis well into 1848.8 France. "1848. 1830. Price. To graspthe extentto which these shocks were inwe deedunexpected. 17-22.9 Weproposethatit is preciselytheseeconomiccrisesthataremost helpful in explaining the simultaneityand regional distributionof the European undoubtturmoilof 1848.Revolutionsof 1848 a numberof empiricalstudiesof social disorderin the 1840s. 9Labrousse. pp. The articleproceedsas follows. Bergmann.We also show that institutions.even thoughideasandinstitutions edly shapedthe events in question. in an Revolutions. pp." pp. and 1848to changesin agricultural outputandprices.and Gailus.Among the many standoutwithrespectto therevoludefinitionsavailable. 105-07. The economic view of the 1848 revolutionsrelies heavily on the occurcrisis acrossEurope.We supplyshock into a lagged demandshock to the manufacturing completeour argument drawinga connectionbetweenpolitical activity by and its possible economiccauses.findingevidencethat that the falling consumptionand investmentdemandtransformed agricultural sector.it was economic misery and the fear of thereofthattriggeredthem.In of distribution economicdistressandpoliticalturbulence afteridentifyingthe countriesthat suffereda significantfood-supply fact. or the crediblethreatthereof. 8 See for example R. We firstinvestigatethe size and signifishock thathit most European countriesin the seccance of the grain-price ond half of the 1840s.But what defines an economic renceof an antecedent crisis?What sort of crisis will triggerpolitical activism?And who will be the activists? A possible startingpoint is the conceptof revolution. of a repressivepolitical regime. "Popular Disorders. which stress of For the importance economicmotives. Strajie. and Sperber.while largelyirrelevant the occurrence to of revolutionary activity.two characteristics tions of 1848: (i) the use of violence. "Okonomische Voraussetzungen" and Wirtschaftskrise. Revolutions. We then explorethe propagationmechanism extendedthecrisiswell into 1848. Tilly. pp.Inotherwords. mechanism shock in 1845-1847." . we find that there is an almost perfect geographicalmatch between economic crises and revolutionary namelythe existence or absence activities. This resurrection the economic view of the between the geographic 1848 revolutionsis based on the high correlation acrossEurope.ErnestLabrousse explicof itly linkedtherevolutions 1789. European Revolutions.hada significantinfluenceon theform such activity took:revolutionstendedto be moreviolent if the regimewas repressive. It turnsout thatmost European enced a severeprice shock in 1846 or 1847. estimatetheforecasterrors standard of adaptive-expectations models for a data set encompassinggrainprices for 27 countries countriesexperibetween 1820 and 1850.
4-7. couldonly takethe formof revolutionary activityin the sense definedabove. and 59 percent among Prussian rural workers in 1847.'3 bulk of the food purchasedconsistedof grainproductsandpotatoes. pp. of course. " Labrousse. especiallyin the capitals. 10). 67 percent among urban workers in 1837 and 1847 (Saalfeld. and Goldstone. Rural workers. has Hansjorg Siegenthaler explainedwhy andhow economicdiscontentcan 12 reacha threshold triggerspoliticalaction. Obviously. Quote from Steams.While lawyers. whatfollows we in will define a revolutioneitheras widespread collective violence targetedat changingthepoliticalsystem.doctors. 12. Revolution. It was the lower classeswho providedthe"muscle. 73 percent in Berlin in 1800 (Abel. lower-class households around 1850 still spent between two-thirds and of The three-quarters theirincomeson nourishment." Thusourfocusmustshiftfromthewellknownrevolutionary to protagonists averagemen andwomen. which do not require that a revolution be successful. 157-64. and academics were undoubtedlyimportant protagonists duringthe 1848 upheavals. 81 percent in 1790 and 78 percent in 1904-1913 (Phelps Brown and Hopkins. . 297). pp." Economic distressis transfornedinto revolutionary actionthroughthe mediationof severepopularfearof a deteriorating socioeconomicsituation. 245). The potentialor actualinvolvementof a to large numberof individualshas important consequencesfor our question here. publishers. This broad definition is similar to the notion of revolution in C. p. p. Agrarkrisen. p. "Seven Centuries.and(ii) collectiveaction. p.whichrendered household budgetsvery sensitiveto changesin thepricesof these goods. 12 Siegenthaler." pp. 13 In England. nineteenthcentury. active ' involvementof "thecrowd"in thateffort. produced more of their own food than did urban workers." p." pp. We follow the broader definitions of Kimmel. 519-24) and what he defined later as a "revolutionary situation" (European Revolutions. "1848.The questionis how to measureboththe discontentandthe threshold. AGRICULTURAL ORIGINSOF THE ECONOMICCRISIS flux Householdsexperience macroeconomic through changesin theirreal While this is as true today as it was duringthe first half of the budgets.our understanding why a revolutiondid or did not take of place shouldnot be basedsolely on an analysisof elites andtheireconomic situation.or as immediate substantial and constitutional reformimplemented preventit." p.thatis. 330). 7-12. On the expenditureside. Revolution. Prezzi. "Lebensverhaltnisse. Regelvertrauen. as low-income '?Kimmel.they would not havebeen ableto effectrevolutionon theirown. Underthe conditionsof the that this post-NapoleonicRestoration. 77. 63 percent in all households in Milan in 1847 (Maddalena. 236-39). Tilly ("Revolutions.296 Berger and Spoerer effortto changethe politicalsystem.journalists. This sensitivity was greaterthe smallerthe overall size of the budget.the channelsthroughwhich an economic crisis would influence the family budgetwere differentthen. Accordingly. pp.whererevolutionary activitieswere most pronounced. Revolutions.
" 306). Irsigler ("ZurEntwicklung.73).3 ' ' ' ' . GreatBritainsee Mitchell.International .1 0 Rye 0. 181.Revolutionsof 1848 0. 62.Hungerkrisen.3 -0. wages.16 the extentthatthis is a valid stylized fact. For illustrative sampleproducesa highlysignificantcoefficient purposes.dataon grainprices shouldallow us to obtainan idea of the time path of household expenditures priorto 1848. 27.2 -0.2 -0. the easily accessibledataon grainpriceswouldalsoprovideus with dataon real powerof fully employedwage laborers.67 for wheatandpotatoprices.2 0. '5 See Bass.93 (full sample).and p. and0. I -0. 16 Ldhne.2 O OOO 297 -0. andthus on the purchasing 14 Accordingto Drameet al. Due to seasonality ryeandwheatprices. Vg/l ff. thepriceelasticityof demandforwheathoveredaround France.1 0.6 throughout nineteenth-century by for p. Similarresults Cologne1818-1850 arereported Ebelingand p. HistoricalStatistics.3 0.1820-1850 Notes: Plotted are the annualfirst differencesof the originalprice series. table Source:Kopsidis.p. Germany G6mmel. 5 The tightintegration local grain markets in this period is illustratedby Figure 1.On the one wages were fairlystablein the hand. 0.The full (abbreviated) in of of correlation 0.Fortheperiod 18 16-1 850.3 0.France. see Realeinkommen. which plots bimonthlypercentagechangesin wheatpricesoverthepreviousyearagainst a similar series for rye prices between 1820 and 1850 for the Prussian districtof Arnsberg.4 1 FIGURE OF THE INTEGRATION PRUSSIANGRAINMARKETS.it is well knownthatnominalindustrial To first half of the century. in logs. Gettinga grip on the revenueside of householdbudgetsis somewhatmore difficult. andGerhard. 20).87 for wheat and rye of prices.Marktintegration. households tend to allocate more of their budgets to food (Engel's Law).4 -0. (Siecle.14 In addition.77 (0. In principle.the abilityof householdsto protecttheirlivelihood by substitutingamongfoodstuffswas limited.thecoefficientfortherawdata is much larger: 0.we omit one outlier. the literature on Prussiareportscorrelationcoefficients of 0.p.ForBelgium.
"Machine Breakers. Abel (Agrarkrisen. ..... . . Onthe otherhand. . 1823 . with the exception of Oldenburg into and Russia (rye). pp. .the classic unit in price history. . .. . . 830 160 140 140 100~~~~ 100 40SAK 20 40 Prussia 20 Sweden .." approach theanalysisofprerevolutionary to p. . p. 1845 .. 1840 0 1820 .. 1830 . were century. . .938. at least at the sectorallevel. . . 1820-1850 Notes: The series are for London. . .18 We have good reason to believe that this "law" was also valid for the produc(in century fact. . 1850 . .four of them arepresentedin grain-price Figure2... . . 1840 O 1845 1850 1820 1825 1830 1835 . To that end we have assembled27 series (see Appendixfor details). Sources: See the Appendix. . "Prices. 1825 . . . 1840 . ." 394. 1830 . it seems possible to put togethera sufficiently accurate pictureof the economicwell-beingof householdspriorto the politicalturmoil that shook Europearound1848.moreso thantoday).anddataon industrial nineteenth tion. . .. .thereis hardlyanyreliableinfornationon effectiveworkincome to ing hours.fornonagricultural activfromthe overalllevel of industrial to Okun'sLawto inferemployment ity. . .. 290-95) used gramsof silver p. .1830 . ."9 17 This point has been discussedby Hobsbawm. Summingup. . . . areavailablefor a numberof countries. . Berlin. nearlyall European currencies per kilogramof wheat. .is to turn A series.... 1835 1840 1845 1850 2 FIGURE EUROPEAN WHEAT PRICES. .-.whichmakesit almostimpossible computea meaningful at employment least.." 4.. . 1835 20 France .. ^ .. see 6conomiques. '9 See Braudeland Spooner. All series are for wheatprices. the region around Paris. . and have been transformed gramsof fine silver per Wheneverpossible.298 160 40 120 Berger and Spoerer 160 40 120 100 80 60 200 80 60 40 40 England 20 O. 1820 160 ..17 feasiblesolution. Weir.In the firsthalf of the nineteenth still on silver or bimetallicstandards. 1835 . and Stockholm county. 1850 O " 1820 1825 . . . we have hectoliter. . . .. 18 Fora similar "Crises France. . . 1845 .
Whereas Figure2 revealsboth similarities variations the price patternsin Franceand Prussialook very similar. 1823-1850 a Five groups of Continental countries: Southeast (Switzerland. Netherlands).however.andtheirfinal repealin 1846 may help to explainthe relativemodestyof the increasein thatyear. Austria.b Eightprovinces. results Our do not dependon the choiceof the aggregation level. Lombardy.wherebothnational capitalseriesareavailable. Thereis evidenceof a convergenceof European grain marketsby this time. Prussia. Hungary). and North (Finland. pp. p. for see Sources:See theAppendix. due to cheaperland and sea transport. the series for to France.21 the the Figure3 illustrates phenomenon comparing coefficientof variaby 20 ForAustria. Groj3handelspreise. West (France. theAppendixfordetailson the data.8 Europe -Prussia 0. See 21 Forthe impact the CornLaws on BritishwheatpricesandEuropean of wheat-price convergence."Impact.however." 124-29.50.Prussia. presumably.60.1 1820 1822 1824 1826 1828 1830 1832 1834 1836 1838 1840 1842 1844 1846 1848 1850 FIGURE 3 THE CONVERGENCE OF EUROPEANa AND PRUSSIANb WHEAT PRICES. Sweden. see Williamson. One of them is a price spike-and thus. the impactof the easingof the CornLaws in 1842.Revolutionsof 1848 299 0.4u 0. and France.90 andneversmaller than0.These differonly slightlyfromthe nationalaverages.Sweden).20 and acrossEurope. Notwithstandingthese and other idiosyncrasies. and the of coefficient correlation between bothseriesis on average higherthan0.74. This shouldnot come as a surprise. 0. Germany (aggregated) JacobsandRichter.9: 0.the likely center of political activity. Papal States.20.andEnglandappear sharea numberof regularities.3 . .70. Norway. Center (Germany [aggregated]. blow to living standards a for the majorityof the population-during the period 1845-1847.the English and The Englishseries shows especiallythe Swedishexperiencelook different. Belgium). tried to gatherdata for the country'scapital.80. Someregional seriesshowa somewhat larger standard deviation do thenational than averages.however.
j ( 1) wherepe andp are expectedand actualfood prices and the lag length n is The d parameters and 8 areOLS assumedto be constant. these yearsdo not standout as particularly Considera householdthat."Marktintegration.300 Berger and Spoerer tion among differentregions of Prussiawith the coefficient of variation and Europe.We can picture The argument householdsat any given time t as formingexpectationsaboutthe cost of living at time t + 1 based on an adaptiveexpectationsmodel n Pt.Despiteits largeterritory differamongfive areasof continental ecoent climaticzones. Clearly. But the forecast will not be perfect. the price movementsin Englandand Sweden in This discrepancy may irregular. however.jPt. j=o t. in in But thereare also discrepancies the time pathsportrayed Figure2.takesthe be important. While in FranceandPrussiathe years 1845-1847 aremarked a dramatic by increasein grainprices.If.we would not expectan extraordinarypolitical reaction.an exceptionalprice "shock"severely and unexpectedlydiminishedthe real budgetof a largepartof the population. Pt+i O(. householdsupdatetheirestimatesfor d and 6 in everyperiodt to produce the best availableforecastabout p' 1.+. the following period's price level.)0 22 (3) pp.basedon pastexperience. We can then define a price and "shock"-a highlyunanticipated irregular pricemovementin the sense introduced earlier-as a significant(scaled) ex-post forecasterror e t = Pt+. Fremdling Hohorst. time-dependent coefficientsfrom an autoregressive (AR) model estimatedwith the present andpast observations onp availableat time t n Pt + 8 jPt-l-j +?t j=O (2) where ? is a randomvariable following standardassumptions. prolonged the Compared nomic areain this period.by the 1840s the regionshadreachedroughlycomparable levels of marketintegration.That is. long as a price increasestayswithinthe expectedrange. Prussiacan be regardedas a fairlywell integrated with this benchmark.22 startingat levels convergenceis quiteremarkable: periodof pan-European fourtimeshigher. such a backlashseems muchmore likely. and . lends itself to a more formalexposition. necessaryto insureitself against"regular"-andthusin principrecautions as ple foreseeable-fluctuationsin the cost of living." OOf.
pp. "Agrarian Cycles. The same is true for the Finnish series.all arestationary."4 with Pt being the (t x n) matrixof observationsused to forecastp in all previous periods (n + 1. See for example Greene. notionof statistical building theconventional From significance. Saxony. recalculating the AR models with difference-filtered data or introducing a trend into the estimated model does not change the results. . and Wurttemberg are only stationary around a trend. If we define 0-+t+I(Ptpt )-. Computingthe scaled forecasterrorset+. set n = 5 We for each country.which allows the AR process-and. 23 24 .If at any of point in time the chartline deviatespositively (negatively)from zero.Pt+. . The complete data set (grain prices as well as computed forecast errors) for the sample is available on request. e. Price cycles were well known to contemporaries. the predicin tors-to cover both cyclical and acyclicalregularities the time series. from Equation 2. is just the standard recursive residual et N[09 C 2] (5) a significantdeviationof the scaled forecasterrorfromzero indicatesboth a "shock"in the sense definedabove and a structural breakin the model. instance. Ourtwo-standard-error criterionis purely on statistical. For evidence on cycles in grain prices see for instance Bauemfeind and Woitek." 25Based on standard ADF tests. However. 216f.23As . Only Hesse remains a borderline case. simplyfocusing on the numberof pre-revolutionary years in which grainpriceswere above theiraveragevalueleadsto a very similarprofileof shocksacrosscountries. They are also quite obvious in the present data. computedforecast errors and the respective twostandard-error bands.If a deviationis greater thantwice the standard errorof the model used to computethe forecast-that is.. t).]. the statisticalcriterion does not seem unreasonable.for our set of 27 countriesis a straightforward exercise once the lag length n is determined.25 Figure4 presents. p. The price series for Baden. Beforewe move on. the actualpricelevel atthispointexceeded(fell shortof) the estimated expectations of households.it very closely otherplausible approximates threshold For criteria. However. with the exception of Finland. Sweden.forthe fourcountriesalready selected for Figure 2.Revolutions of 1848 301 where 6 is a scaling factor that increasesin the sample length t and the (1 x n) vector of observations onp used to forecastpt. a strictly historical this perspective mightseemsomewhat arbitrary. Econometric Analysis.. a briefdiscussionof the threshold dividing"normal flux" and "shocks"is called for. Hesse. .24 The majorityof the series run from 1820 to 1850.The interpretation this figureis fairlyeasy. thus. if it breachesone of the dottedboundaries-we regardthe shock as significant. indeed.+.
. yields resultsthatare criterion In the event." 114-18.whereonly the fall in pricesafterthe good harvestof 1847 qualifiesas a shock relativeto expectations-albeit a positive one.but it is also true for England. Whilethepanelsforboth FranceandPrussiafeaturea significantpositiveprice shock in 1846/47 (as negative shock as prices returnedto normal in well as a corresponding 1848).27 FromFigure4-and fromsimilarfiguresforthe other23 countriesin our countriesdid indeedsuffer sample28-it follows thata numberof European 26 Such a ruledoes. of criterion the forecastmodelleadsto Note also thatthe two-standard-error 18 of value in an interval i O. the impactof the agrarian 27 Ireland data)was a very differentcase. approach Solar. column3).302 60 -60 Berger and Spoerer England France 40 40* 20 - 20 0 < A /\~ v V . using the two-standard-error verymuchin line withthosedisplayedin Figure2.1840 1842 1844 1846 W 1848 1850 -60 1826 60 -60 1828 1830 1832 1834 1836 1838 1840 1842 1844 1846 1848 1850 1826 60 1828 1830 1832 1834 1836 1838 Prussia Sweden 40 40 4 s 50 20 '-- ~ ~~~~~ ~ ~ ~~ -- --- ----- -> *20 2 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ----- --- ---- - - - - - - - - -_ -40 2~~ 1828 1830 1832 ~~FRCS 1834 1836 1838 1840 1842 GRI-RC 1844 1846 1848 1850 . Fora comparable (for which we do not have comparable Famine. This is obvious in the case of Sweden. ultimately. around very robustresults:anyotherthreshold 1848 shocksamongthecountries ofpre2 produces verysamedistribution the to in our sample(see Table3. these increasesstayedwithinthe confinesof the nornal ups anddownsof the cost of living.2 0 \/ -------B ------------------------ l . pp. .40 . EROS 1828 1830 1832 1826-185 1834 1836 1838 1840 1842 1844 I84 1848 1850 -601 * . mulationof bufferstocksand. thosefor EnglandandSwedendo not. 60 1826 1826 4 FIGURE FORECAST GRAIN-PRICE ERRORS. Thereasonforthis is thateven thoughthe lattercountriesexperiencedhigherprices priorto 1848.26We will return this issue.ignorethe role thatpriceexpectations mighthaveplayedin the accuin crisis on households. however. 1826-1850 Sources: See the Appendix."Great see 28 All figuresare availableon request.
Revolutions. 30 The dominant agrarian cycle has a lengthof eightyears. .OberKornhandel. in virtuallyevery case the year 1848 itself was characterized sizableprice decreases. thereis a problemof timing.30Still. the cost of living haddefinitelymoderated in both regions. pp. one of the reasonswhy so manycontemporary observersinsisted crisis andtherevolutionswas on a close connectionbetweenthe agricultural the forner's lagged propagation into other sectors of the economy."Agrarian Cycles. 66. 219.p. Moreover. 32 See for exampleRoscher.It is only aftertheyhaveregainedtheirphysical forces and digested their recenttraumathatthey startto (re)actpolitiFromthis perspective. 34.the surprisingly good harvestsof 1847 helped household to expenditures regaintheiraveragelevels duringthe firsthalf of 1848. pausedbrieflyaroundthe turnof 1846.the time lag is unsurprising.the time lag betweenthe peak of the food-priceincrease (and the subsistencecrisis it caused) and the political unrestis not totally unexpected. With a majority of households earning close to the subsistence level. through end of thatyeartheyremainedabove the averagefor 1838-1845. It is temptingto jump aheadandcompare regionaldistribution the ofthese findingswiththe occurrenceof politicalturbulence. 1847-1848 In fact. by the time political unrest startedto spreadacrossEuropein early 1848. and then resumedwith a vengeanceinto the summerof 1847. The price increasewhich followed acceleratedin mid-1845.29 Thus. all the world's economies were still greatly influenced by fluctuations in agriculture. there is an But cally. although the pricesfell aftermid-1847. Ancienregime. what consumers in was farmorethana "blip": was a seemingly it experienced bothcountries incessant price increase over two-and-a-halfyears. when a thirdconsecutive bad harvest was expected all over Europe.See Bauemfeindand Woitek. To some extent.31 additionaleconomiclink betweenthe two events." 31 Steams.not by increases.32In this age.The reason is that people who face starvationare physically weak andfocusedon survival. p.Inboth cases.To some extent this mightbe an artifactof the frequencyof the data.p.Despite some But variancein the onset of the various grain-priceshocks. see also Tocqueville. Figure5 shows monthlywheatprices for the regionaroundParisandfor Berlin. wheatprices were at a low level at the beginningof 1845.Revolutionsof 1848 303 a significantcost-of-living shockjust priorto 1848. Commercial Crisis. Even in Berlin. where prices were on the rise again laterin the year. costlier foodstuffs translated into lower demand for all 29Boot. OF PROPAGATION THE CRISISTO THE INDUSTRIALSECTOR.To see whetherthis is the case. 61-65.
Romano. Sources: Amtsblatt 1840-1849.304 200 - Berger and Spoerer Paris 180- 160- 140 - 120 - 100 80- 60 1840 1841 1842 1843 1844 1845 1846 1847 1848 160 - Berlin 140 - 120 - 100 80- 60- 401840 1841 1842 1843 1844 1845 1846 1847 1848 FIGURE 5 MONTHLY WHEAT PRICES IN PARIS AND BERLIN. and Dreyfus. 196f. p. Labrousse. Prix. . 1840-1848 Notes: The dotted lines mark the average wheat price 1838-1845.
and Bergmann. ch.and middle-class households. p. Commercial Crisis. 49. 227-31). as harvest forecasts switched from gloomy to optimistic and massive cornimportsfromRussiaandthe United Stateswere reachingthe markets.37 33 ForFrance see Labrousse ("Panoramas"). For the Prussian textile industry see Blumberg (Deutsche Textilindustrie. notablymanufactures.35 thirdfactorin the tighteningof credit was misspeculation." 36 For monthly London market and bank rates see Ward-Perkins.Revolutionsof 1848 305 would not have been The othergoods. p. and Boot. of hertradebalanceturnednegative. 252. See Ward-Perkins. 22. For the general crisis of crafts in 1847-1848 see Kuczynski.und sozialpolitische Aspekte." p. were forced to reduce their rate of saving and run down their financial While their savings fell. In England. pp. History. Preujiische Notenbankpolitik.especially the urbanlower andmiddle classes. 1.as smooth consumption.because most interest-rateseries are regulatedbank rates which were not always adjustedto marketconditions. for Prussia see Obermann.prices plummetedandmanytradersfoundthemselves in desperate need of credit.52.. 3" See for instance Obermann. 3 For England see Boot.However. . "Commercial Crisis. and the simulations ofLdvyLeboyer and Bourguignon (French Economy.pp.85-97. "Commercial Crisis. demandbecomes price-inelastic." p. and Lichter. the available dataunderestimate strainput on borrowers. p. "Wirtschafts. who uses quarterly data. "Wirtschafts.who relies on monthly data.34 ably increased. for instance. pp. 230.but since food producerswill have spent at least some of their windfall on purchasesof other goods. "Commercial Crisis. pp. purchasing power is shifted from (net) food consumersto (net) food producers. 63-70. consequently.thusinducinga contraction the money A supply. 200-05. For annual series of short-tern European interest rates see Homer. contrast. Commercial Crisis. 208. which show a time lag of one year.As nutritionalstatusdeclines toward-or even falls below-the subsistence level.it seems plausibleto presumethat lower reduced channel)and. pp. the commercial crisis was immediately overcome when the Bank of England was allowed to lend at a bank rate above 8 percent.creditsupplymust have contracted." p. " Described in detail by Boot.und sozialpolitische Aspekte. 382). 6. the overall effect of the price increaseon creditdemandmusthave been positive. 78. Commercial Crisis. 50. This furtherincreasedinterestrates all over Europe. 242. borrowerswere often subjectto creditrationing. and 270. when net food consumers. householddemand(the consumption channel)would eventuallyturnan agridemand(theinvestment investment crisis as well. See also Ward-Perkins." for evidence on dissaving in Prussian lower.1 78f. During a negative food-supply shock. 2. savings by net food producerspresumassets. culturalcrisis into an industrial Let us firstdiscuss how the food crisis influencedbusiness attitudesand investment behavior. Underthe rules of the by various specie standards. 265.In mid-1847. Lage.As a result.experienceda gold drainas grainimportssoaredand England. 94. Wirtschaftskrise.This was the case in 1845-1847. 163.33 translation some householdsran down their savings in an attemptto immediate.36 the In fact.
Deutsche Gesellschaftsgeschichte. See for example Labrousse.Replacingthe price data for capitalcities by nationalaveragesleadsto only very slight deviations.For instance.The same is true for the regressionresultsin Table2. especiallyin the textile sector.38 fims failedbetweenmid-1846 andthe end instance."Wirtschafts-und sozialpp. contrast. 20.rejectionof the null hypothesisof "no causality"in the case of lagged grain prices influencing production below.Eventhoughempirical demand. duringthe crisis.we know thatnumerous saw of 1848."Konjunkturelle lung. As a first step. The question to be addressedis whether there is and of evidence for a laggedpropagation the graincrisis intomanufacturing possibly.this seriously affectedthe metals and mining sectors from the spring1847through endof 1848.it would seem thatthe deteriocrisis of 1845-1847 rationof financialconditionsin the wake of the agrarian had a sizable laggedimpacton firn failuresandinvestmentbehavior.39 visible slowdown in railway-track and investmentin France.41 In both cases the possible determinants addedto an AR model of the endogenous variable. 81) point out that Ward-Perkins ("Commercial continuedrailwayinvestmentstabilizedthe UK economyby late 1847. following Okun's Law. we Grangercausalitytest.we can apply Turning mechanism.306 Berger and Spoerer series show a local While most of the availableEuropeaninterest-rate 1847. Crisis. 3 38 We commenton selected econometric resultsin note 44 . 648-52." viii-x. Causalityin the sense of the test should be interpreted conservatively. 314-2 1.Germany. we use the price datadescribedin the Appendix."pp. pp. from the investmentto the consumptionchannel. on to employment. pp. Frenchmanufacturing outputcan be explainedby lagged values of Frenchgrainprices. andeventuallyinvestmentwas railwaycompaniesdropped most FrenchrailBy scaledback to meet the financingconstraints.which the transmitted crisis acrosssectorsandinto the criticalyear 1848. due to the planninglags analywell into 1848. 162-67. 41 For the calculationsin Table 1. a somewhatmore directtest for the existence of a propagation Althoughthereareno reliabledataon householddemandfor manufactured goods. and viceare versa. say. Obermann. In a nutshell."p. crisis which made the governmentcancel railwayinvestmentprograms."pp.andthatcontemporaries lack of The creditas one of the main culprits.? In sum. "Panoramas. here it was lack of public fundsdue to the food ways had been nationalized. The growthof the Germanrail networkdid not accelerateagainbeforethe 1850s.In both countries. and Wehler. Entwick40 See Labrousse. 87) and Boot (CommercialCrisis. Spreeand Bergmann. and "1848" and "Panoramas". subjectthe data at hand to a standard the test asks how much of the growthpath of. politische Aspekte. involvedin investment this by sis supporting view is seriouslyhampered the qualityof the interestFor rate data.it seems to be in line with the availableanecdotalevidence. the impactof tighterfinancialconditionson investment maximumin was felt as early as the second half of 1846 and. it seems reasonableto rely on grainprices as a proxy for the changes in household demand. (to a somewhatlesser extent)England of The profitability the (mostlyprivate)German also pointsin thatdirection.
37 Prussiaa GrainPrices . Asterisks indicate rejectionof HO ("no causality"at conventionallevels). Sources:See the Appendix.The resultsfor Austriaand the Netherlandsare somewhat weak.06 Lag 2 0.The model is symmetrical: firstrow the reportsthe numberof lags for the AR process.00* 0.1820-1850 307 Country Austria England France Direction GrainPrices-) Manufacturing -+ Manufacturing GrainPrices GrainPrices .but herewe shouldnot be surprised given England'sleadingrole in the processof industrialization.12 0.01* Lag 4 0.18 0. The main message of Table 1 is that grainprices are indeed Grangercausalformanufacturing somecountries.77 0. Notes:P(F-stat)forGranger testsatdifferent lengths.Manufacturing 0.40 0.28 0. general.70 0.13 Netherlands GrainPrices-+ Manufacturing 0.05* 0. but still suggestive.20 -+ Manufacturing GrainPrices 0.89 0.55 0.the evidenceclearlysuggests In that changes in grainprices precededchanges in the growthrate of nonagricultural activity. we set the . the existenceof Granger-causality betweengrainpricesandmanufacturing not does necessarilyimplythata significantshock(in the sense definedabove)to the formerseries also causeda significantshockto the latter. The period under considerationis again 1820-1850.61 0.15 -+ Manufacturing GrainPrices 0.08 0.43 0. Again. lag grainpricesarein levels.36 0. The results for Englandfall in the same category.89 0. In orderto see whetherthereare significantshocks in the availableproductiondatafollowingsignificantshocksin grainprices.14 0.20 0.00* 0.we againmakeuse of the methodestablishedabove.34 0. Figure6 presentsforecasterrors(from a model similarto equation2) for the dataused in Table 1.40 0. Grangercausality is commonly as interpreted meaningthatthe"causal"series precedestheotherseriesandcontainsinformation useful in predictingit.02* -> Manufacturing GrainPrices 0.02* 0.08 0.All dataareannual. initiated badharvests.01* 0.44 0.09 0.44 0. Table 1 presentsourresults.07 0.08 0.23 Sweden GrainPrices .03* 0.03* -+ Manufacturing GrainPrices 0.13 0.89 0.61 0.12 0.05 0. as well as the numberof lagged exogenous variablesincluded.46 0.66 Hufigary GrainPrices-+ Manufacturing 0.01* 0.The resultslend credibilityto our claim that the economic crisisof 1845-1847.70 0.13 a Textileproduction only. would suggestthatthe formerseriesprecedesthe latterandhelpsin forecasting it.06 0.00 0.Or did it? After all.24 0.50 0.45 0. productiondata are in growthratescomputedas first differencesof the raw data in logs.07 0.20 0.15 0.74 0.16 0.01* 0.06 Lag 5 0.00* 0.Manufacturing -4 Manufacturing GrainPrices Grain Prices -+ Lag 1 0.17 Manufacturing -) Manufacturing GrainPrices 0.00* 0.extendedinto 1848by by triggeringa crisis in the manufacturing sector.06 0.86 0.Revolutionsof 1848 TABLE1 GRANGERTESTSOF CAUSALITY.17 0.Manufacturing 0.14 0. the conversefails to hold for in but any single country.01* Lag 3 0.10 0.03* 0.
10 -30 . Sources:See the Appendix. . _. 20 ~~~~Sweden Noes Al rwhrtsi ecn. .30 . . 30~~~~~~~~~3 -20 _____ _ __ __ -20 1832 1834 1836 183 1840 1842 1843 1846 1848 184 l839 l 1843 1844 1847 184 1890 6 1847 1848 1849 Sources:ASee the Appendix.10 . . 20 England v_ ___ 10 10 . .o .Pusi:txiepouto ny Netherlands:2modelsincludes-trend. .0~~~~~~~\O . . . .308 30 Berger and Spoerer 30 20 Austria .20 . . <-A *.. ._ . . . .20 .30 1827 1829 1831 1833 1835 1837 1839 1841 1843 1845 1847 1849 FIGURE 6 INDUSTRIAL SHOCKS.20- 1842 1843 1844 1845 1846 1847 1848 1849 1850 1827 1829 1831 1833 1835 1837 1839 1841 1843 1845 1847 1849 -20. _S Io 1832 183 3 1837 l839 1841 1843 1845 184 184 50 1840 1841 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~-v--- ----------------------------- 1842 1843 1844 18 45 1846 1847 1848 l849 1850 30 -230S 20 Neerlanc 20 Prungar -30- . 1827-1850 Notes:All growth rates in percent. 30- 30. .20.210 . . Prussia: textile production only. Netherlands: model includes trend.30 - ?_--- - - 20 France 20Netherland . . . . . . . .
and 1830. growth.Theresultswithregard grainprices to and the revolutiondummywere similarto the resultspresentedin Table2. remaining The series. Otherwisewe find that all countriesincluded in the manufacturingdataset thatwere hit by (spared)a significant grain-priceshock in 1846/47 also found themselves suffering (exempt) from a significant industrialrecession in 1848.which experienced a grain-priceshock but no manufacturing shock. statisticalsignificance does not guaranteethat the strengthof the connectionbetween the and sectorswas sufficientto explainthe downagricultural manufacturing turnin production.The resultsarerobustwith regard changesin the lag lengthof the AR modelused to computethe forecastsand standard errors.First. on .the Netherlands. and 1848 is a The dummyvariablethatequalsone in the year 1848 andzero otherwise.43 Even thoughFigure6 addsconsiderably the evidenceproducedby the to Granger tests.andHabsburg series startonly in 1820.Where and interest rateshada negativeimpacton output significant. We estimatetwo variantsof the following equation m Yt= +Z i-l S't-s+6pt. there are still reasonswhy the propagation argument might not yet be convincing.Inthe case of the Netherlands series the is stationary to arounda trend.even thoughsome to of the dataseriesarerather short:the French.42 Austria.the Habsburg countries. workersprotesting in the streets are not at theirworkbenches. for France. The anomaly is the Netherlands.Revolutionsof 1848 309 lag of the AR partuniformly n = 5 acrossall countries.44 discussionof Granger causalitysuggeststhatgrainprices enterwith a lag.the manufacturing data could themselves be influenced the revolutionary by activityof 1848.p is (in the price of grain (in grams of fine silver per hectoliter). See also note 51.Describingthe correlation betweenthe variablesusing a simplemultivariate regressionmodel addressesbothproblems.Table3 revealsthatlowerthresholds "4Againthestatistical ruleidentifying is for the forecasterrors work equallywell.France. runfrom 1815 to 1850.respectively. Thedummyvariable takesaccountof thepossibilitythatthe industrial crisis 42 All seriesarestationary according standard to ADF tests. Figuresfor all countriesare availableon request.however. 1828. France.Prussia.Second.and Sweden. and Prussia show significant negative shocks to manufacturingin 1848.where y is the growthratein manufacturing percent). "shocks" quiterobust. 4 We use m = 4 to economizeon degreesof freedom. After all.+%J848t +? (6) Equation6 basically describes an AR model with an added structural component. Hungary. whereas England and Sweden. Prussia. do not. which were also spared a shock in grain prices.Ourexercise includesEngland. Additional results are available request.Prussian.We have also experimented with one-period laggednominalandrealinterest ratesas explanatory variables England.
64 (2.71 (1.92) 0.09 -0.09 -0. jointly and significant Sweden at include a conventional linear and levels a (Wald quadratic F-test).06 -0.94 Significant (4.74 (0.15 (1.65) 0.79) 4.05*** -0.17) (2.62 (2.86) -0.46 1835-50 0.81 (0. In all residuals.34 (3.22*** larger) at at production the the t-statistics Austria the 1 only. 0. at HAC See and reported).04 1.95) -0.18** 0.09** 1820-50 10.91) 31.58) (0.66 -9.20*** -0. y y y y Period R2(adj.05 -0.77) (2.59) -0.70 (4. elements of the France.64 -0.4.25) 13. cases The the AR(m models = for4) -0.80) -0.42*** RATES Netherlands 0.51 9.10) 1820-50 -0.58 (0.24) 1835-50 -6.65 0.11) 0.78*** -0.310 a Berger and Spoerer ** (at (not = lag Notes:= I Textile Sources: * = p.54 -0.18) -0.07) -0.19*** -0.76 (3.07) GROWTH 0.31 -0.42** -0.45 5.14*** Sweden 2.56 (2. 1820-50 -0.11 -0.14 (1.18 1820-50 -0.09*** TABLE 2 equation 6) Hungary MANUFACTURING 0.11) 0.20 -0.48) 0.01 -0.18 -0.83) 0.21 0.26 -0.18 (3.39 -0.37 -0.64 the at Significant 1835-50 21. the models are Netherlands.49) 0.63 -0.16 -0.49 1820-50 -0.66 (1.38 8.58 (3.31) 13. trend term Q-tests 0.37) -0.29) (2.49*** 0.39 1825-50 -0.29** 23.54** England autocorrelation of theparentheses.68 (1.) 1848.33 -0.20 -0.54 (3.39 -0.28 -0.88) (1.39 7.59 (2.82 -0.33 -0.38*** OF (see England.63) (1.18 -0.10) -0.08** -0.31 (3. Significant -0.68 (3.52) -0.13 -0.15*** .58 (3.80 (6.81) -0.15 4. level.54 (3.19 -0.32 -0.48 1820-50 11. 0.08* 1825-50 -12.07 -0.16*** France DETERMINANTS -0.99* 1835-50 no percent percent (absolute) percent are in level.87*** -0.70) 10.53 -0.20 -0.11 0.28 level.33) 0.48 (0.59 (2.92 (1.18 -0.27 -0.65) -0.07 -0.71) (1.57 1833-50 Prussia' -0.18 -0.61 (1.43 -0.55* 0.36 15.53 -0. 5 10 suggest Appendix.49) 1833-50 -13.22 -0.
Table2 presentsOLS estimatesof equation6. we shouldexpectthe grain-price coefficientsto be negativeandsignificant.Hungary. Based on the estimatedcoefficientsin Table2. which exclude the time dummy.andthe Habsburg countries. The negative sign onpt-l remainsunchangedacrosscountriesand.31 and46. this translated into a decrease in 1848 manufacturing outputof 7. that Considering some of thetime seriesarerather short. Let us first considercolumns(i).85) gramsof fine silver from 1846 to 1847.86 (3. least marginally significant.03) percentagepoints or 32.theperformance of the consumption channelis quiterobustwith regardto the introduction of the 1848 dummyvariable(columns(ii)). to force an overalldecline in real activity.l in bothcolumns. to the cost of living in a numberof Note that to the extent that the revolution is in fact endogenous to the economic crisis.12 (37.In the case of Englandthe grain-price variableactuallygains in significanceafterthe introduction 1848.And indeed.Accordingto Columns(i).the sign of the impactof grainprices is as anticipated in all cases.Grainpricesin Prussia(France)increased by 27.Prussia. the decline explainedby the graincrisisis even larger(47. The resultsfor the Dutch dataremainunchanged.which displaya significantcoefficientonp. AND REVOLUTION CRISIS So farwe have establishedthe existenceof a regionalpatternof significant shocks to grainprices-and.an important of the explanation the slumpin part of productionin 1848 obviously still derives from lagged grain prices.butnot in morehighly industrialized England. In the cases of Austria.the Netherlands.while and the impact in England (which did not have a revolution)is significantly positive.the negativeimpactof the agricultural price increaseon in industrial expansionremained the two-percentage-point range-too low.the dummy and remainsinsignificant. we should rely on a model excluding the 1848 dummy 45 . In England. Columns(ii).We can concludethatthe sectorwas considerquantitative impactof the graincrisis on the industrial able in France. Sweden. thus. Prussia.From whathas been said aboutthe channelslinkingagriculture with manufacturing. while therevolutions But playedsome role in shaping manufacturing activity.Revolutionsof 1848 311 of 1848mighthave been a consequenceof therevolution.03) percentof the actualdecline.with the exat ception of AustriaandHungary.45 of Whatwas the quantitative impactof the 1847 graincrisis on manufacturing? Takefor instancePrussiaandFrance. thatis.67 (23.respectively).not of the agriculturalsupplyshock.06 percent. The dummyhas at least a marginallysignificantnegativeimpactfor France. andlacks statisticalsignificanceat conventional levels only in the cases of England(the industrial leader)andthe Netherlands.
Bohemia. pp.the Italianstates. But we still have to connectour economicfindings with the politicaldata.and the Netherlands. p. 4" See O Grada.For Ireland. The two Italian countries in our sample. "Great Famine. 1. For the different states see Stearns. for the 1848 revolutions in the German states. Revolutions. and column 2 the 46 A possibly critical case could be the Netherlands.revolutionsin any sense of the word. that the absence of data seems equally spread across the different categories.49 datain the firstfive columnsreferto grainprices.. which Steams (Revolutions. 114f. "1848. Prussia. evaluationis much more difficult. 262f. 49For these countries we were unable to find compatible grain price data extending back to the 1820s. vol.Not one of them failed to experienceeitherpoliticalviolence or preemptivereform.which helps explainthe propagationof the initialshock into 1848. in the 1840s the Germanstateswere perspectiveof German fully independententities with quite differentpolitical paths. For instance. Revolution. 48 See Valentin. we then linked the grain European countries-between crisis to the manufacturing sector.and Oldenburg. however. the Germanstates in our sample can be classed into only two groups. Denmark. Hamburg. we could not datafor our sampleperiod. MecklenburgSchwerin. Bavaria. and for data sources Solar. preemptiveconstitutional concessions occurredin Bremen..Russia. .England.. 109f. Geschichte." p. we also lack grain-price data for Romania and Sicily. Revolutions. and Wurttemberg. Price. Ireland.Brunswick.48 in Ourfindingsare summarized Table3.othersabsolutistand more or less repressive(such as Prussia). also qualify as revolutionarysituations." pp.Ireland. which covers nearlythe whole withthe exceptionsof Iceland.The German of historiography 1848 has long been determined the Prussia-centered by But unification. Kaelble. Saxony. of Europe a Portugal. Lombardy and the Papal States. 1) would not include in the second group. and the Europeanterritories the Ottoman of The Empire. 285.Hesse-Darrnstadt. Widespread violence occurredin Baden. Belgium. some with constitutions(as in southernGermany). p. Switzerland. Column 1 reports average wheat or rye prices for 1838-1845.312 Berger and Spoerer 1845 and 1847. which experienced severe political turmoil.and Spainneither experienced widespread politicalviolence. Austria. and Goldstone.46 By contrast.Unlike Europeas a whole.norsawtheirgovernments forced to change the constitutionsignificantly.andHungary experienced widespread political violence and thus. 120. clearly. Note. to according whichFrance. violence onlyby undertaking which were ableto avoidwidespread preemptive constitutionalreform. For the non-Gennancountrieswe follow experienced the consensusin the literature.47 find reliablegrain-price For the Germanstates. both experienced strong revolutionary turmoil (see Sperber. In the broadersense defined above. few Italianand some smaller Germanstates. European Revolutions. It is not altogether to straightforward determine whethera given country a revolutionor not.the otherScandinavian states. 222).which experienced severe agrarian crime but arguably revolutionary no action.
57 2.18 136.01 67.13 66.13(47) (47) (47) (47) Wheat (Year) 1845-48a Maximum Price 3 2 2 2 2 2 3 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 2 2 2 3 3 3 (3) High Years Prices 184547b of Grain AGRICULTURA Agriculture Error 2.12 75.24 2.12 92.82 70. 0.38 2.54 2.51 1.34 108.68 93.Revolutionsof 1848 313 Papal France Baden Prussia Austria Bavaria Bremen Belgium Saxony Hungary Bohemia Denmark Hamburg Brunswick Switzerland Lombardy Oldenburgc Netherlands States WOrttemberg Hesse-Darmstadt Mecklenburg-Schw.72 105.69(47) 79.02 -4.06 -24.99 109.45 2.30 73.20 72.34(47) (47) (47) (47) (47) (47) (47) (47) 119.33 93.68 100.23 2.57 -2.58 62.16 2.33 2.41 2.48 76.64 (6) (%) 1848 -8.23 103.04 Growth Industrial SHOCKS.51 140.23 2.27 2.21 110.57 101.13 146.29 (47) (47) (47) (47) (47) (47) (47) (47) 119.96 135.72 2.28 (2) 149.11 61.99 88.91 39.56 2.71 2.51 128.19(47) (46) (46) (46) (45) (47) (47) (47) (47) (47) (46) (47) Maximum INDUSTRIAL.88 71.80 87.90 73.72 127.70 110.02 52.89 82.49 Error 1848 SEForecast Industry Production-1845-1848 no yes yes yes yes (8) Shock 1848? in Industrial no no no no no no no no yesyesno yesyesyesno no no yesyesno yes (9) 1848? Before Repression in Politics (yes) (yes) (yes) yesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyes (10) (yes) (yes) (yes) 1848? Revolution .74 2.41 2.93 -10.32 76.96 Price Wheat Average 1838-45a 125.02 -2.59 2.32 76.76 2.89 81.31 (4) (45) (46) (47) (47) (47) (47) (46) (47) (47) 2.63 (7) -2.48 -2. (1) 52. SE(Year) Price-Forecast 1845-48 TABLE AND 3 yesyesno yesyesyes yesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyes (5) Price Shock Grain1845-48? POLITICAL -4.
34 89.08 1.44 44. no no no yesno no (5) Price Shock Graincontinued 1845-48? 1.314 ' b a Berger and Spoerer Rye Spain Finland Sweden Norway Sources:Grams Russiac England Number of prices.34 (4) TABLE Maximum (47) (47) (47) (45) (46) (46) SE(Year) Price-Forecast 1845-48 (Column 31).81 1.09 (7) Error 1848 SEForecast Industry Production- no no (8) Shock 1848? in Industrial no yesyesno yesno (9) 1848? Before Repression in Politics no no no no no no (10) 1848? Revolution .69 3.25 -0.28 115.31 75.75 2.76 50.27 (2) the 1 2 0 2 1 1 average for (3) High Years Prices 1845-47bof Grain Agriculture Error 1838-45 1.94 (6) (%) 1848 Growth Industrial 1.12 73.13 1.68(47) exceeded (47) 119.69 141. which (1) Price 105.57 Wheat Average 1838-45a grain hectoliter.10 -0.74(47) 81. prices Wheat (Year) 1845-48a Maximum Price (45) (48) (45) 134. See of fine the years in silver per Appendix.72 73.
Whether the deviationof the actualfromthe forecasted pricebetween 1845 and 1848 was a "shock"in the sense definedabove (deviationgreaterthantwo standarderrors).If the deviationbetweenactualandforecasted industrial growthis greater thantwo standard errors.Column9 indicateswhether notthepoliticalatmosphere or on the eve of 1848 was repressive. Norway. weight mechanismextendedthe shock waves of the agrarian crisis into 1848. The next step is to confrontthese resultswith the politicaldatain the last two columns.Thereis a near-perfect regionalmatchbetween grain-price shocks and revolutions:among the 21 states experiencingrevolutionary turmoil. which register the occurrence shocksin grainprices andmanufacturing.we note a production shock in column 8. andviceThis findingaddsfurther to ourhypothesisthata propagation versa. of Again with the exceptionof the Netherlands.the "yes" is in parentheses. or at least stronglyinfluenced. those countriesknownto have experiencedan industrial shock underwent revolutionas well.pp.verymuchin line with the analysisin the preceding section. the six countrieswithouta revolution only one. By contrast.by short-term economic factors. The resultis surprisingly clear-cut.is indicatedin column5. with the exceptionof theNetherlands.It is also reassuring that.50 0These resultsare in line with those of Goldstone(Revolution.however. Incolumn4 the maximum price-forecast error the of years 1845 to 1848 is dividedby the corresponding standard error.Therefore us comparecolumns5 and8.Conversely.Forcountrieswith immediate andsubstantial constitutional changesbutno widespread violence. who finds a high geographicalcorrelation betweenpopulationpressureand statecrises in Europebetween 1750 and . is of OnlyDenmark an outlier. Comparing columns 8 and 10 we find that. showed signs of a price shock in the grain market. let suasive. 20 had been hit by a grain-priceshock between 1845 and 1847.Revolutionsof 1848 315 maximumprice between 1845 and 1848. the shocks in food prices and manufacturing are Evidenceforjust seven countriesmay not be totallyperhighly correlated. On the basis of this hypothesiswe can comparethe earlierprice shocks in column 5 directlywith the politicaldatafor 1848 in column 10 even for those countriesfor which we do not have productiondata.and column 10 indicateswhetheror not a countryexperienceda revolutionin thatyear. Columns6-8 repeatthe shock analysis for those countriesfor which we have industrial productiondata. Column3 reportsthe numberof yearsbetween 1845 and 1847 in whichpricesreachedheightsexceedingthe averageof 1838-1845. Now we are able to give an answerto the questionof whetherthe European revolutionsof 1848 were caused. 343-48).we find thatonly countriesshowing a price shock in 1845-1848 experienceda manufacturing shock in 1848.in a Englandand Sweden therewas neitheran industrial productionshock nor a revolution.
thatourresultsareimmuneto the criticismthatthe explanatory variable(in our case the price shocks)is endogenous. 52 Wehaveestimated ML-binary a logitmodelfortheoccurrence a revolution.57 (significant the4 percentlevel)."and0 otherwise. and yet avoided violent revolutionin 1848 (see Figure7).Indeed. of with a constantand the grain-price forecasterrorin 1847. An which may have bolsteredthe dispensingregime's legitimacy. column7 showsthatanythreshold betweenzeroand .a comparisonof columns 3 and 10 shows thatthe numberof yearsin the period 1845-1847 in which a countrysuffered from relativelyhigh grainprices is also a remarkably good predictorof revolutionary activity in 1848.andthe Netherlands)all abutthe North Sea.01 will separate countries with or withoutshocksin industrial in production a way thatis compatible with the economicview (except for the Netherlands).who compares European ten countries finds. Second. We have.A oneunit increasefroma forecast-error of 1 (2) increasesthe probability a revolution about46 level of by (23) percentage points.82 and2. as do all those countries(exceptingtiny Brunswick)thatexperienced some sort of economic traumain the mid-1840s.does not changethe qualitative results. however.The McFadden-R2 0.Norway.18 wouldhaveyieldedthe sameresults. found it very difficultto gathercomparableinformationfor our sample countries. regional factors may have played a role. estimated The coefficientforthegrain-price forecasterroris 1.88. obvious candidateis poor relief.The most comprehensivecomparativestudy is that of PeterLindert.2.a comparison rule of columns4 and 10 revealsthatindeedany thresholdvalue between 1.Detailsareavailableon request.18. Is there anythingwe can say about the outliers?First. The standard is deviationof the 1847 forecasterrors is 0.Thistranslates an increasein theprobability a revoluat into of tion for a one-unitincreasein the 1847 forecasterror fromzero of about21 percentage points. countries all undergoing revolutionendureda minimumof two years of above-average prices before 1848.only Norwayand Spainhad experienced morethana single year of highgrainpricesin thepreviousthree. It is interestingto note thatthe countriesfor which our hypothesisfails (Denmark. for the 27 countries regionsin our sample." pointedout earlier.By contrast. which for some countriesdeviatesfrom the 1847 figure.316 Berger and Spoerer The outcome is also remarkably robustwith regardto the underlying definitionof economic "shocks. Of the politically stable countries. Note.83 with a SE of 0.For instance. .significantly and 1850.namelythat25 of the 27 cases supportoureconomicview of the 1848 revolutions.52 Note also that less sophisticatedmeasuresof the depth of the agrarian crisis lead to comparable findings.a simplelogit model exercise revealsthatanincreasein thepre-1848grain-price forecasterrorsignifof icantlyincreasesthe probability revolutionary activity. however. s' Similarly.the two-standardAs errorthresholdis merelya statistical of thumb. institutionalandpolitical factorsmay have been important.51 robustness the The of resultstronglysuggestsa positive correlation betweenthe size of the price shock andthe likelihoodof a revolution.However.The LHS variable or is constructed a dummythattakesthe value I when column 10 in Table3 shows eithera "yes"or as a "(yes). Using the grain-price forecasterrors listedin Table3.
.- .. ..or neither. . .immediate change.ABC. 1820-1845.-. Country Source: Table 3. abc: intensityof price shock(if any).. Right: FIGuRE of silverper hectolitre. 2 and 4. Abc. 1845-1848.... W ei ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~cc <P r GA~~~~~~~~~~~~~4 \ b o~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~gp 7 WHEATPRICESIN EUROPE Notes: Left: averagewheat price..Revolutionsof 1848 317 t t ... . cols. All pricesarein garams fineC constitutional with violentrevolution. Middle: maximumwheat price.^.
as column9 of Table3 indicates. It is interesting that. The LHS variable is constructed as a dummy that takes the value one when column 10 of Table 3 shows a "yes.54 findOur ings thussupport ideathatthecharacter the regimelargelydetermined the of theform of political upheavalin 1848. thereis evidencethatan increasein grainprices-a good proxy for the cost See Lindert. Details are available on request. of As an initial step. findthatwhereasanincrease We in the grainpriceforecasterror significantly increased likelihoodof both the violent and preemptiverevolution.thatpoor reliefper capitain Englandandthe Netherlands were far higherthanin the othercountries.though.at most.Hungary. but thatit was the economic crisis that set the wheels of revolutionin motion. the grain-price forecast errorin 1847.53 One institutional factorthatcan be assessed."thatcaused the outbreak revolutionsin early 1848.Prussia. significantrelationship the and Austria. a dummy variable that takes the value one when column 9 of Table 3 indicates the presence of a repressive regime in the above-mentioned model explaining the occurrence of revolution (violent or preemptive) produces no significant effects." The estimated coefficients for both the grain-price forecast error (1. we have here establisheda propagationmechanism crisis of 1845-1847 with the subsequentindustrial linkingthe agricultural time-seriestools. The economic crisis startingwith the bad harvestof 1845 is regarded. it has crisis of 1846-1848. Using a numberof standard been shown that over the period 1820-1850 there was a systematicand in and betweenagriculture industry France. To pursuethis idea. Sweden-but notin England.In particular." pp. "Poor Relief. CONCLUSIONS the Manyhistoriansinvestigating 1848 revolutionsin Europeemphasize the force of ideas as theirleadingcause. 113-18. Again.26.is whethera regime was repressiveor not. as one of numerousenabling factors. A morepointedstatement this view would be thatit was economicmisery.nor in the Netherlands.52) are significant at least at the 4 percent level. and the dummy variable indicating repression.the presence of a repressivepolitical regime affected only the probabilityof violence.this view the severely underestimates political dynamicsresultingfrom the extreme of of economicfluctuations 1845-1848. The ML-binary logit model for the occurrence ofviolent revolution includes a constant. we arrive at qualitatively similar results when we use the forecast errors as presented in Table 3 instead.In view of the analysisput forwardin the presentstudy. liberalregimes.ratherthan"ideas. The McFadden-R2 is 0. world'sleadingand most highly industrialized economy.43) and the repressive-regime dummy (2. we employedthe logit model for explainingthe likeliin hoodof politicalrevolution general(discussedabove). Violent revolutionwas significantlylikelierto occurunderrepressive politicalregimes.alongwitha model explainingviolentrevolutionin particular. 5 54Including . theNorthSea countries wereall governedby nonrepressive.318 Berger and Spoerer for ourpurposes.
only Denmark and experienced far-reaching. but did help to shapethem. paralleledby significantrevolutionary activity.Among the six countriesthat escapedgrain-priceshocks.Revolutionsof 1848 319 of living at the time-led aftera certainlag to a decline in manufacturing activity."defined as significantforecasterrorsbased on an adaptive expectations model. suffering a severe deterioration theirsocioeconomicstatus.We conclude that the presence of repressiveregimes did not triggerrevolutionary events.helpto predictrevolutionary activity:if-and only if-a countrywas subjectto a shock in 1845-1848.Austria. In fact.and Hungarysuffereda shock-like decline in industrial productionin 1848. in oursenserevolutionary. then it went on to undergo revolutionin 1848. Using themuchsparser available dataon manufacturing findthatFrance. constitutional reform.thepresenceor absenceof a repressive political regime-add little to the explanationof revolutionary activityas such." . we findthattheydid exerta significantinfluenceon the formthatthis activity took.neededsome kindof alternative in vision-realistic or otherwise-before theywouldbecomerevolutionaries. Norway being the peaceful exception. Ideology also played a role.As such. Whileinstitutions-namely. allows us to drawdirectinferencesaboutthe occurrence It of revolutionary activityfromthe rich dataon European grainprices. we have demonstrated regionalpatternof the ecothe nomic shocksthathit variousEuropean countriespriorto 1848. the dramaticincreasein food prices in 1845-1847 must have had a strong negative effect on productionand employmentin the industrial sectorsby 1848.makinguse of the link establishedabove between agriculture manufacturing. it is based on a rathersmallnumberof observations.This resultis potentially important.the regionalpattern grain-price of shocks is very similarto thatof industrial crises:if a countrywas subjected to a grain-price shock between 1845 and 1847. Of 21 countriessubjectto a grainprice shock. The revolutionsof 1848 tended to be violent if the regime was repressive. In a second step. "Moral Economy. P. but probablyonly in combinationwith economic crisis. It turnsout that "shocks. At the time.Thompson's"moral economy"55) and by politically discontentedtownsmen who called for liberalismand " Thompson. it experiencedrevolution. the yearof politicalunrest. and we againturnto grainpricesforhelp. However. 20 followed this crudebut obviouslypowerfulrule. We conclude that the occurrenceof an economic shock in the later 1840s was an important the factorin triggering 1848 revolutionsacrossEurope. The peasants and artisansof the 1840s.These resultsare very robustwith regardto the underlying definition of an economic shock. we Prussia.thesealternatives wereofferedbypeasantleaderswho appealed to traditional conceptionsof fairness(E.While this resultis very much in line with the economicview of the 1848 events.
As both the levels and the volatility of the data are strongly influenced by the way the average is calculated. Price. and the articles in Dowe. " Hobsbawmhas termed "bargaining riot"("Machine Breakers. which so obviously endangered the economic welfare of so many people and discredited the ancien regime so thoroughly. For the European states. we see historical singularities. the crisis of 1845-1848 took place in the context of a much larger and more popular variety of political alternatives that called for immediate action. 76-78. we have tried to find data for the country's capital. intensity of revolution) are taken for Germany and the Austrian Empire from Huber. 4). 4.57We conclude that without the economic crisis of 1845-1848.pursuing their goals in an undemocratic and often repressive political environment. For the conversion of currencies. at times checked by and supplemented with data in other literature on the subject. for example. Geschichte. and measures of weight we used Klimpert. Country codes in capitals stand for violent revolutions. we have ignored the few available series for the harvest year or ones which relied only on one or two dates per year. and Langewiesche. 7 and 8. Europa. 1. Hence no explanation of the European revolutions of 1848 should neglect short-tenn economic factors. they did supply the brawn. Siecle. there would not have been the critical mass to support these new ideas.." 57). The abbreviations in parentheses are the country codes used in Figure 7. and Valentin. C. well. needed violence (or the credible threat of it) as a political instrument. Revolutions. at least. Please contact the authors for a list. Whenever possible. is the case for the Lisbon price series of Magalhaes Godinho. European Revolutiots. ch. see Steams.320 Berger and Spoerer democracy. chs.. weighted by sales and expressed in. This. lower case means no revolution. The currency problem can quite easily be overcome by transforming recorded local prices per local unit into grams of fine silver per hectoliter. and only the "crowd" could provide it. 6. The likelihood that revolutionary ideology was a necessary condition for upheaval transcends a narrow economistic approach. initial capitals mean preemptive revolution. this by . chs. Haupt. when there was still hope that the forces of restoration could be defeated. In contrast to the crises of 1816/17. RebelliousCentury. If not stated otherwise. Prix. Tilly food-price increaseof 1854-1855 created et al. and 7. Very probably the only series that is partially weighted by sales is the one for France. Numerous other historical works were consulted which are not in the list of references. where the weighting was (or was supposed to be) done at the very first level of recording (see Drame et al. the data are available annually from 1815 to 1850. Revolutionary agitators. 56 The similar see neither faminenorsocialunrest. Lexikon.56Here. ch. p. Revolutions. Appendix: Data Sources Political data (intensity of repression. euros. because these were the prices actually observed (and responded to) in the political center. Sperber. But although the economic crises did not provide the brains. Deutsche Verfassungsgeschichte. Grain-price data would ideally be an average for the harvest year. pp. measures of capacity.
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