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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.

in WestInthe 1990s theacceleration of economicandpoliticalintegration of Eastern Europeled to anincreasing ernEuropeandthedemocratization 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instead, greater weight is placed on the spread of liberal and democratic ideas, and on the inflexible and increasingly outdated political institutions of the time, which were ill-suited to cope with the societal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: spoerer@uni-hohenheim.de. Address correspondence to Helge Berger, CES, Schackstrasse 4, 80539 Munich, Germany. E-mail: h.berger@ces.vwl.uni-muenchen.de. 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."

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problems of early industrialization.2 Surprisinglyfew authorsstress the deep economic crisis that immediately precededthe revolutionary events: thatmentionshort-run witnesstheplethora of monographs economicfactors not at all or only in passing,andthe manyeditedvolumesthatlack a single paperon the economiccrisis precedingthe events of 1848.3 to ourunderstandButwhileideasandinstitutions undoubtedly contribute fortheupheaval of 1848,theyfail to explain ing of the generalpreconditions of the events.Here a more the timing,simultaneity, or regionaldistribution observersintereconomicperspectivemightbe helpful.Manycontemporary pretedmuch of what was going on as a directconsequenceof the serious in 1845-1847 shortfallin basic food suppliesthathad shakenthe Continent 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 atthetimeby KarlMarxandFriedrich championed Engels,andlaterrefined by JurgenKuczynski.5However, this materialisticview is by no means confined to Marxist historiography. Another early proponentwas Ernst Prussianstatistician, who maintained Engel, the nineteenth-century thatthe the bomb"in manypartsof Europe.6 economic crisis was what "triggered 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 of largepartsof the rural population (pauperism) and in individualaffairs,for instance,throughmilitaryconscriptionand discretionary stateintervention taxation.For an overviewsee Sperber, EuropeanRevolutions, pp. 47-49. 3 Wehave systematically checkedmonographs andpapercollectionscoveringthe 1848 revolutions in English,German, andLatinlanguages publishedsincethe mid-1990s fordiscussionsof short-term socioeconomicdevelopments suchas theincrease of foodpricesin 1845-1847 ortheeconomicdownturnof 1846-1848. Hobelt(1848) and Bruckmulller andHausler(1848), who analyzethe revolution in Austria,do not discuss economicfactorsat all. Neitherdo Schroeder (Transformation) nor Broers (Europe),nor the contributionson Hungaryin Fischer(UngarischeRevolution).In the accountof For SwitzerJudson(Wien)of the revolutionin Austriasocioeconomicfactorsarerarelymentioned. in Hildbrand land,the contributions andTanner (Zeichen)do not referto economicfactors.Some of and Weishaupt the work on Switzerland collectedin Ernst,Tanner, (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 andMergel, Revolution; Lill,Revoluwiesche,Europa tion; Mommsen,1848; Rill, 1848; Timmermann, 1848; and Langewiesche,Revolutionen.Notable exceptionsareSperber, EuropeanRevolutions; Hahn,"Soziookonomische Ordnung"; Hein,Revoluand Stirrner, earlieraccountsof the 1848 revolutions tion;L6veque,Ebranlement; 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, pp. 681f.; andPrice,Revohitions,pp. 7, 24-26. 4 Sigmann,1848, pp. 183-85. ' Kuczynski,"Wirtschaftliche und soziale Voraussetzungen." 6Engel, "Getreidepreise," p. 251 (ourtranslation). 7Rostow, British Economy;Hobsbawm,"EconomicFluctuations"; Rud6, "WhyWas ThereNo Revolution?";C. Tilly et al., Rebellious Century;and R. Tilly, Vom Zollverein. See also Stearns,

Inotherwords.In of economicdistressandpoliticalturbulence distribution the a after countries that suffered significantfood-supply fact. Strajie.We supplyshock into a lagged demandshock to the manufacturing completeour argument by drawinga connectionbetweenpolitical activity and its possible economiccauses. 32-35.Among the many standoutwithrespectto therevoludefinitionsavailable. 11-20. identifying mechanism shock in 1845-1847. Revolutions. Tilly. "1848. This resurrection between the geographic 1848 revolutionsis based on the high correlation acrossEurope. The economic view of the 1848 revolutionsrelies heavily on the occurcrisis acrossEurope. Price. we find that there is an almost perfect geographicalmatch between economic crises and revolutionary namelythe existence or absence activities.9 Weproposethatit is preciselytheseeconomiccrisesthataremost helpful in explaining the simultaneityand regional distributionof the European undoubtturmoilof 1848." pp. 8 See for example R. The articleproceedsas follows. It turnsout thatmost European enced a severeprice shock in 1846 or 1847. European Revolutions.Revolutionsof 1848 a numberof empiricalstudiesof social disorderin the 1840s. We then explorethe propagationmechanism thatextendedthecrisiswell into 1848.and Gailus. in an Revolutions.hada significantinfluenceon theform such activity took:revolutionstendedto be moreviolent if the regimewas repressive.findingevidencethat the agricultural falling consumptionand investmentdemandtransformed sector.two characteristics tions of 1848: (i) the use of violence. We firstinvestigatethe size and signifishock thathit most European countriesin the seccance of the grain-price ond half of the 1840s. 105-07. which stress of economicmotives. 1830." . of standard adaptive-expectations models for a data set encompassinggrainprices for 27 countries countriesexperibetween 1820 and 1850.8 ForFrance. and 1848to changesin agricultural itly linkedtherevolutions outputandprices.even thoughideasandinstitutions edly shapedthe events in question. anddiscussingevidenceof a propagation that prolonged the crisis well into 1848. pp. and Sperber. 17-22. "Okonomische Voraussetzungen" and Wirtschaftskrise. pp.ErnestLabrousse the importance explicof 1789. or the crediblethreatthereof. Bergmann.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. pp. To graspthe extentto which these shocks were inwe estimatetheforecasterrors deedunexpected.We also show that institutions. 9Labrousse.while largelyirrelevant to the occurrence of revolutionary activity.it was economic misery and the fear of the economic view of the thereofthattriggeredthem. "Popular Disorders. of a repressivepolitical regime.

thatis. p.The questionis how to measureboththe discontentandthe threshold. "1848. Agrarkrisen. Obviously.they would not havebeen ableto effectrevolutionon theirown. 77. especiallyin protagonists the capitals. It was the lower classeswho providedthe"muscle." pp. pp. 519-24) and what he defined later as a "revolutionary situation" (European Revolutions. activityin the sense definedabove. 4-7. Quote from Steams. produced more of their own food than did urban workers. and academics were undoubtedlyimportant protagonists duringthe 1848 upheavals. today during nineteenthcentury.doctors. 81 percent in 1790 and 78 percent in 1904-1913 (Phelps Brown and Hopkins.whererevolutionary activitieswere most pronounced. On the expenditureside. 236-39).the channelsthroughwhich an economic crisis would influence the family budgetwere differentthen. This sensitivity was greaterthe smallerthe overall size of the budget. 245). pp. as low-income '?Kimmel. Tilly ("Revolutions. p." p.296 Berger and Spoerer effortto changethe politicalsystem. Revolution. 10). of course. involvementof "thecrowd"in thateffort.or as immediate andsubstantial constitutional reformimplemented to preventit. 67 percent among urban workers in 1837 and 1847 (Saalfeld. active ' Accordingly.journalists." Thusourfocusmustshiftfromthewellknownrevolutionary to averagemen andwomen. and Goldstone. This broad definition is similar to the notion of revolution in C. 73 percent in Berlin in 1800 (Abel. . Regelvertrauen." Economic distressis transfornedinto revolutionary actionthroughthe mediationof severepopularfearof a deteriorating socioeconomicsituation. lower-class households around 1850 still spent between two-thirds and of theirincomeson nourishment. 12. 157-64. "Lebensverhaltnisse. p. " Labrousse. has explainedwhy andhow economicdiscontentcan Hansjorg Siegenthaler 12 Underthe conditionsof the reacha threshold thattriggerspoliticalaction. Revolutions. pp. this couldonly takethe formof revolutionary post-NapoleonicRestoration. 13 In England. Rural workers. 330). AGRICULTURAL ORIGINSOF THE ECONOMICCRISIS fluxthrough Householdsexperience macroeconomic changesin theirreal is it While this as true as was the first half of the budgets. Prezzi.and(ii) collectiveaction.While lawyers.'3 The bulk of the food purthree-quarters chasedconsistedof grainproductsandpotatoes. 7-12.whichrendered household budgetsvery sensitiveto changesin thepricesof these goods." pp. Revolution. "Seven Centuries. 297). and 59 percent among Prussian rural workers in 1847. We follow the broader definitions of Kimmel. in whatfollows we will define a revolutioneitheras widespread collective violence targetedat changingthepoliticalsystem. publishers.our understanding of why a revolutiondid or did not take place shouldnot be basedsolely on an analysisof elites andtheireconomic situation. 12 Siegenthaler. The potentialor actualinvolvementof a large numberof individualshas important consequencesfor our question here. p." p. 63 percent in all households in Milan in 1847 (Maddalena. which do not require that a revolution be successful.

14 In addition. GreatBritainsee Mitchell. tableVg/l ff. and0. Germany HistoricalStatistics. 27.thecoefficientfortherawdata of 0.3 ' ' ' ' . 0.2 O OOO 297 -0.3 0.it is well knownthatnominalindustrial To the extentthatthis is a valid stylized fact. Source:Kopsidis.Revolutionsof 1848 0. (Siecle.2 -0.2 -0.3 -0.The full (abbreviated) in ryeandwheatprices. see G6mmel.3 0.1 0 Rye 0.16 easily accessibledataon grainpriceswouldalsoprovideus with dataon real powerof fully employedwage laborers.International . 62. 181.2 0.dataon grainprices shouldallow us to obtainan idea of the time path of household expenditures priorto 1848. the first half of the century.Fortheperiod 18 16-1 850.ForBelgium.6 throughout nineteenth-century by Ebelingand forCologne1818-1850 arereported p. in logs. 5 The tightintegration grain markets in this period is illustratedby Figure 1.Marktintegration.73)." 16 Ldhne.p. andGerhard.p. Realeinkommen. Due to seasonality of correlation is much larger: 0.1820-1850 THE INTEGRATION Notes: Plotted are the annualfirst differencesof the originalprice series. Similarresults '5 See Bass.87 for wheat and rye of local prices. I -0. the literature on Prussiareportscorrelationcoefficients of 0.67 for wheatandpotatoprices. 306). households tend to allocate more of their budgets to food (Engel's Law).1 0. wages.77 (0.Hungerkrisen. thepriceelasticityof demandforwheathoveredaround France.and p. Irsigler ("ZurEntwicklung.the abilityof householdsto protecttheirlivelihood by substitutingamongfoodstuffswas limited.4 1 FIGURE OF PRUSSIANGRAINMARKETS. 20). In principle.4 -0. which plots bimonthlypercentagechangesin wheatpricesoverthepreviousyearagainst a similar series for rye prices between 1820 and 1850 for the Prussian districtof Arnsberg.On the one wages were fairlystablein the hand.we omit one outlier. Gettinga grip on the revenueside of householdbudgetsis somewhatmore difficult.France. andthus on the purchasing 14 Accordingto Drameet al. For illustrative sampleproducesa highlysignificantcoefficient purposes.93 (full sample). p.

and Stockholm county. . and have been transformed Wheneverpossible.. .. . . areavailablefor a numberof countries. were century. .. . 1845 . . . . All series are for wheatprices. 830 160 140 140 100~~~~ 100 40SAK 20 40 Prussia 20 Sweden . the region around Paris.. ..fornonagricultural series. . .. . 1840 0 1820 . . . ^ .anddataon industrial century nineteenth tion. ." approach to theanalysisofprerevolutionary p. 1845 . . 4. .moreso thantoday). 1835 20 France .18 We have good reason to believe that this "law" was also valid for the produc(in fact.. To that end we have assembled27 series (see Appendixfor details). 1835 1840 1845 1850 2 FIGURE EUROPEAN WHEAT PRICES. 394.298 160 40 120 Berger and Spoerer 160 40 120 100 80 60 200 80 60 40 40 England 20 O.938.. 1823 . .."9 17 This point has been discussedby Hobsbawm. 18 Fora similar "Crises France. .. . "Prices. Sources: See the Appendix. we have hectoliter... . 1830 .. at least at the sectorallevel. .is to turn employment A feasiblesolution. . see Weir. 1850 .. . it seems possible to put togethera sufficiently accurate pictureof the economicwell-beingof householdspriorto the politicalturmoil that shook Europearound1848. with the exception of Oldenburg into gramsof fine silver per and Russia (rye). Abel (Agrarkrisen." p. 1850 O " 1820 1825 . .thereis hardlyanyreliableinfornationon effectiveworkincome to computea meaningful ing hours. . 1840 ..In the firsthalf of the nineteenth still on silver or bimetallicstandards. . . . . pp. . . . nearlyall European currencies per kilogramof wheat." p. . Onthe otherhand. . . . 1825 . .the classic unit in price history... 1840 O 1845 1850 1820 1825 1830 1835 . .. .17 activfromthe overalllevel of industrial to Okun'sLawto inferemployment ity..four of them arepresentedin grain-price Figure2. Summingup... 1820-1850 Notes: The series are for London. 6conomiques. . Berlin. .-. .whichmakesit almostimpossible atleast. 1820 160 .. 1830 . 1835 . 290-95) used gramsof silver '9 See Braudeland Spooner. "Machine Breakers. 1830 . ..

andcapitalseriesareavailable. the series for to sharea numberof regularities. 1823-1850 a Five groups of Continental countries: Southeast (Switzerland. due to cheaperland and sea transport. forGermany see JacobsandRichter.andtheirfinal repealin 1846 may help to explainthe relativemodestyof the increasein thatyear.Sweden).however. a blow to living standards for the majorityof the population-during the period 1845-1847.wherebothnational France.50.Whereas Figure2 revealsboth similarities the price patternsin Franceand Prussialook very similar. Lombardy. 74. Thereis evidenceof a convergenceof European grain marketsby this time. Hungary). This shouldnot come as a surprise.the likely center of political activity. 21 Forthe impact of the CornLawson BritishwheatpricesandEuropean wheat-price convergence.9: 0.however."Impact.3 . Center (Germany [aggregated].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.70.8 Europe -Prussia 0. tried to gatherdata for the country'scapital. Notwithstandingthese and other idiosyncrasies.4u 0. Ourresults do not dependon the choiceof the aggregation level.Revolutionsof 1848 299 0. Belgium)." pp. Prussia. Sources:See theAppendix. West (France. See theAppendixfordetailson the data.20 andvariations acrossEurope. 0. .however.b Eightprovinces.20.21 the phenomenon the coefficientof variaFigure3 illustrates by comparing 20 ForAustria. 124-29. Austria. France. (aggregated) p. Norway. the impactof the easingof the CornLaws in 1842. presumably.Prussia.the English and The Englishseries shows especiallythe Swedishexperiencelook different. Papal States. Netherlands). Someregional seriesshowa somewhat larger standard deviation thando thenational averages. and Sweden.80. and North (Finland. the of correlation coefficient between bothseriesis on average higherthan0.60. Groj3handelspreise.These differonly slightlyfromthe nationalaverages. see Williamson.andEnglandappear One of them is a price spike-and thus.90 andneversmaller than0.

Clearly. the price movementsin Englandand Sweden in This discrepancy may irregular. in the time pathsportrayed in Figure2. necessaryto insureitself against"regular"-andthusin principrecautions as long as a price ple foreseeable-fluctuationsin the cost of living. Pt+i O(. the following period's price level. lends itself to a more formalexposition. such a backlashseems muchmore likely.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. Fremdling and Hohorst. But thereare also discrepancies While in FranceandPrussiathe years 1845-1847 aremarked by a dramatic increasein grainprices.That is. however. householdsupdatetheirestimatesfor d and 6 in everyperiodt to produce the best availableforecastabout p' 1.basedon pastexperience. Prussiacan be regardedas a fairlywell integrated with this benchmark.we would not expectan extraordinarypolitical reaction.+. increasestayswithinthe expectedrange. But the forecast will not be perfect.j ( 1) wherepe andp are expectedand actualfood prices and the lag length n is Thetime-dependent d and 8 areOLS parameters assumedto be constant.an exceptionalprice "shock"severely and unexpectedlydiminishedthe real budgetof a largepartof the population. the prolonged Compared nomic areain this period. 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."Marktintegration.22 startingat levels convergenceis quiteremarkable: periodof pan-European fourtimeshigher. OOf.Despiteits largeterritory amongfive areasof continental ecoent climaticzones. these yearsdo not standout as particularly Considera householdthat.jPt. j=o t.takesthe be important.by the 1840s the regionshadreachedroughlycomparable levels of marketintegration.)0 22 (3) pp. We can then define a price andirregular "shock"-a highlyunanticipated pricemovementin the sense introduced earlier-as a significant(scaled) ex-post forecasterror e t = Pt+.300 Berger and Spoerer tion among differentregions of Prussiawith the coefficient of variation anddifferEurope.If." .

23 24 . . pp. Ourtwo-standard-error criterionis purely on theconventional statistical. Sweden.The interpretation of this figureis fairlyeasy. Econometric Analysis. Beforewe move on. 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. the actualpricelevel atthispointexceeded(fell shortof) the estimated expectations of households..+. They are also quite obvious in the present data.Pt+. indeed. if it breachesone of the dottedboundaries-we regardthe shock as significant." 25Based on standard ADF tests. from Equation 2. the predicin the time series. t). thus.it very closely otherplausible approximates threshold Forinstance. Only Hesse remains a borderline case. a strictly historical thismightseemsomewhat perspective arbitrary. "Agrarian Cycles.which allows the AR process-and. recalculating the AR models with difference-filtered data or introducing a trend into the estimated model does not change the results. the statisticalcriterion does not seem unreasonable.23As .If at any point in time the chartline deviatespositively (negatively)from zero."4 with Pt being the (t x n) matrixof observationsused to forecastp in all previous periods (n + 1. and Wurttemberg are only stationary around a trend.all arestationary. . Computingthe scaled forecasterrorset+. a briefdiscussionof the threshold dividing"normal flux" and "shocks"is called for.for our set of 27 countriesis a straightforward exercise once the lag length n is determined. See for example Greene. computedforecast errors and the respective twostandard-error bands. However. If we define 0-[]+t+I(Ptpt )-. The same is true for the Finnish series. e. simplyfocusing on the numberof pre-revolutionary years in which grainpriceswere above theiraveragevalueleadsto a very similarprofileof shocksacrosscountries. Saxony. For evidence on cycles in grain prices see for instance Bauemfeind and Woitek. We set n = 5 for each country.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. criteria.If a deviationis greater thantwice the standard errorof the model used to computethe forecast-that is. p. The price series for Baden. However. Hesse. with the exception of Finland.]. Price cycles were well known to contemporaries. The complete data set (grain prices as well as computed forecast errors) for the sample is available on request. 216f..24 tors-to cover both cyclical and acyclicalregularities The majorityof the series run from 1820 to 1850.25 Figure4 presents. . notionof statistical building From significance.forthe fourcountriesalready selected for Figure 2.

using the two-standard-error verymuchin line withthosedisplayedin Figure2.27 FromFigure4-and fromsimilarfiguresforthe other23 countriesin our countriesdid indeedsuffer sample28-it follows thata numberof European 26 Such a ruledoes. value in an interval very robustresults:anyotherthreshold countries the among 1 shocks 848 ofpre2 produces theverysamedistribution to this issue.. 60 1826 1826 4 FIGURE FORECAST GRAIN-PRICE ERRORS.but it is also true for England."Great 28 All figuresare availableon request." pp. 27 Ireland data)was a very differentcase. EROS 1828 1830 1832 1826-185 1834 1836 1838 1840 1842 1844 I84 1848 1850 -601 * . column3).26We will return yields resultsthatare criterion In the event. mulationof bufferstocksand.ignorethe role thatpriceexpectations mighthaveplayedin the accuin the impactof the agrarian crisis on households. Thereasonforthis is thateven thoughthe lattercountriesexperiencedhigherprices priorto 1848.2 0 \/ -------B ------------------------ l . however. This is obvious in the case of Sweden.302 60 -60 Berger and Spoerer England France 40 40* 20 - 20 0 < A /\~ v V . Fora comparable (for which we do not have comparable Famine. ultimately. approach see Solar.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 . of the forecastmodelleadsto criterion Note also thatthe two-standard-error 18 around of i O. Whilethepanelsforboth FranceandPrussiafeaturea significantpositiveprice shock in 1846/47 (as negative shock as prices returnedto normal in well as a corresponding 1848). these increasesstayedwithinthe confinesof the nornal ups anddownsof the cost of living. .40 . 114-18. thosefor EnglandandSwedendo not. 1826-1850 Sources: See the Appendix. in our sample(see Table3.whereonly the fall in pricesafterthe good harvestof 1847 qualifiesas a shock relativeto expectations-albeit a positive one.

and then resumedwith a vengeanceinto the summerof 1847.Revolutions.29 Thus. where prices were on the rise again laterin the year. 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.Despite some variancein the onset of the various grain-priceshocks. by the time political unrest startedto spreadacrossEuropein early 1848. what consumers in bothcountries was farmorethana "blip": it was a seemingly experienced incessant price increase over two-and-a-halfyears. OF THE CRISISTO THE INDUSTRIALSECTOR.p.not increases. in virtuallyevery case the year 1848 itself was characterized by sizableprice decreases.To see whetherthis is the case.31 additionaleconomiclink betweenthe two events. 66.the surprisingly good harvestsof 1847 helped household to regaintheiraveragelevels duringthe firsthalf of 1848. when a thirdconsecutive bad harvest was expected all over Europe. pausedbrieflyaroundthe turnof 1846.To some extent this mightbe an artifactof the frequencyof the data. Ancienregime.OberKornhandel. p. Figure5 shows monthlywheatprices for the regionaroundParisandfor Berlin. costlier foodstuffs translated into lower demand for all 29Boot. although the end of thatyeartheyremainedabove pricesfell aftermid-1847. 61-65. Commercial Crisis.Revolutionsof 1848 303 a significantcost-of-living shockjust priorto 1848. Even in Berlin.p. 32 See for exampleRoscher.30Still." 31 Steams. 34. pp. the cost of living haddefinitelymoderated in both regions. 1847-1848 PROPAGATION In fact. Butthereis a problemof timing. But there is an cally.See Bauemfeindand Woitek. With a majority of households earning close to the subsistence level.It is only aftertheyhaveregainedtheirphysical forces and digested their recenttraumathatthey startto (re)actpolitiFromthis perspective."Agrarian Cycles. through the averagefor 1838-1845. expenditures To some extent.the time lag is unsurprising.Inboth cases. 219. Moreover.The reason is that people who face starvationare physically weak andfocusedon survival.the time lag betweenthe peak of the food-priceincrease (and the subsistencecrisis it caused) and the political unrestis not totally unexpected. 30 The dominant agrarian cycle has a lengthof eightyears. see also Tocqueville.32In this age. It is temptingto jump aheadandcompare theregionaldistribution ofthese findingswiththe occurrenceof politicalturbulence. wheatprices were at a low level at the beginningof 1845. all the world's economies were still greatly influenced by fluctuations in agriculture. . The price increasewhich followed acceleratedin mid-1845.

Sources: Amtsblatt 1840-1849. Prix. 196f. and Dreyfus. Labrousse. Romano.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. p. 1840-1848 Notes: The dotted lines mark the average wheat price 1838-1845. .

consequently.37 33 ForFrance see Labrousse ("Panoramas").In supply.35 mid-1847. 50. Commercial Crisis.und sozialpolitische Aspekte.as smooth consumption. and the simulations ofLdvyLeboyer and Bourguignon (French Economy. of the money hertradebalanceturnednegative. as harvest forecasts switched from gloomy to optimistic and massive cornimportsfromRussiaandthe United Stateswere reachingthe markets.1 78f." 36 For monthly London market and bank rates see Ward-Perkins.52. pp. a gold drainas grainimportssoaredand for instance. 252. 382). See Ward-Perkins. This furtherincreasedinterestrates all over Europe. pp. 78. 22. p.prices plummetedandmanytradersfoundthemselves in desperate need of credit. In England.However. 163. which show a time lag of one year. During a negative food-supply shock. Underthe rules of the by contrast. For the general crisis of crafts in 1847-1848 see Kuczynski.and middle-class households. notablymanufactures. 3 For England see Boot. ch.This was the case in 1845-1847. "Commercial Crisis. Commercial Crisis.it seems plausibleto presumethat lower reduced channel)and. For annual series of short-tern European interest rates see Homer. experienced England. and Boot.who relies on monthly data.33 in an attemptto down their ran households savings some immediate. for Prussia see Obermann. householddemand(the consumption channel)would eventuallyturnan agridemand(theinvestment investment crisis as well." p. purchasing power is shifted from (net) food consumersto (net) food producers. "Commercial Crisis. 3" See for instance Obermann.34 ably increased. 63-70.36 the strainput on borrowers. " Described in detail by Boot. who uses quarterly data. 6. 49. For the Prussian textile industry see Blumberg (Deutsche Textilindustrie. 227-31). demandbecomes price-inelastic. "Commercial Crisis. Preujiische Notenbankpolitik. pp. culturalcrisis into an industrial Let us firstdiscuss how the food crisis influencedbusiness attitudesand investment behavior. various specie standards. the overall effect of the price increaseon creditdemandmusthave been positive. borrowerswere often subjectto creditrationing.85-97." for evidence on dissaving in Prussian lower. "Wirtschafts. "Wirtschafts.Revolutionsof 1848 305 would not have been The translation othergoods. the commercial crisis was immediately overcome when the Bank of England was allowed to lend at a bank rate above 8 percent. 230.creditsupplymust have contracted. Commercial Crisis. 200-05. p. See also Ward-Perkins. and Bergmann.und sozialpolitische Aspekte. .pp. Wirtschaftskrise.As nutritionalstatusdeclines toward-or even falls below-the subsistence level.thusinducinga contraction A thirdfactorin the tighteningof credit was misspeculation. History. p." p." p.As a result. 242. savings by net food producerspresumassets.beIn fact.but since food producerswill have spent at least some of their windfall on purchasesof other goods.especially the urbanlower andmiddle classes. Lage.. and 270. 1. the available dataunderestimate cause most interest-rateseries are regulatedbank rates which were not always adjustedto marketconditions. and Lichter. when net food consumers. 94. 2. 265. 208. pp. were forced to reduce their rate of saving and run down their financial While their savings fell.

of the (mostlyprivate)German The profitability also pointsin thatdirection.For instance. following Okun's Law. involvedin investment this view is seriouslyhampered by the qualityof the interestsis supporting For rate data. and Spreeand Bergmann.The same is true for the regressionresultsin Table2." pp.this seriously affectedthe metals and mining sectors from the endof 1848. As a first step.Eventhoughempirical demand.it seems to be in line with the availableanecdotalevidence. subjectthe data at hand to a standard the test asks how much of the growthpath of.41 In both cases the possible determinants of the endogenous variable. viii-x. Crisis. "Panoramas."Konjunkturelle "1848" and "Panoramas". and Wehler. lung. politische Aspekte. Obermann. say.andthatcontemporaries The visible slowdown in railway-track creditas one of the main culprits. due to the planninglags analywell into 1848. 87) and Boot (CommercialCrisis."p. and viceare addedto an AR model versa. pp.which the crisis acrosssectorsandinto the criticalyear 1848. 648-52. The growthof the Germanrail networkdid not accelerateagainbeforethe 1850s. we use the price datadescribedin the Appendix.Germany. it seems reasonableto rely on grainprices as a proxy for the changes in household demand.In both countries.we know thatnumerous saw lack of of 1848. 81) point out that Ward-Perkins ("Commercial continuedrailwayinvestmentstabilizedthe UK economyby late 1847.Replacingthe price data for capitalcities by nationalaveragesleadsto only very slight deviations. Frenchmanufacturing outputcan be explainedby lagged values of Frenchgrainprices. Entwick40 See Labrousse."pp. crisis which made the governmentcancel railwayinvestmentprograms.306 Berger and Spoerer series show a local While most of the availableEuropeaninterest-rate conditions on investment tighter financial 1847. In a nutshell.rejectionof the null hypothesisof "no causality"in the case of lagged grain prices influencing production below."Wirtschafts-und sozialSee for example Labrousse. scaledback to meet the financingconstraints.39 and (to a somewhatlesser extent)England investmentin France.it would seem thatthe deteriospring1847through crisis of 1845-1847 rationof financialconditionsin the wake of the agrarian had a sizable laggedimpacton firn failuresandinvestmentbehavior. 41 For the calculationsin Table 1.? In sum.38 fims failedbetweenmid-1846 andthe end instance. Deutsche Gesellschaftsgeschichte. 314-2 1."pp.we can apply Turning mechanism. 162-67. pp. on to employment. especiallyin the textile sector. the impact of maximumin was felt as early as the second half of 1846 and. we Grangercausalitytest. duringthe crisis. a somewhatmore directtest for the existence of a propagation Althoughthereareno reliabledataon householddemandfor manufactured goods. andeventuallyinvestmentwas railwaycompaniesdropped most FrenchrailBy contrast. here it was lack of public fundsdue to the food ways had been nationalized. 20. transmitted from the investmentto the consumptionchannel. 3 38 We commenton selected econometric resultsin note 44 . The question to be addressedis whether there is and of the graincrisis intomanufacturing evidence for a laggedpropagation possibly. Causalityin the sense of the test should be interpreted conservatively.

89 0. Asterisks indicate rejectionof HO ("no causality"at conventionallevels).02* -> GrainPrices Manufacturing 0.12 0.66 Hufigary GrainPrices-+ Manufacturing 0. The period under considerationis again 1820-1850.09 0.15 0.we againmakeuse of the methodestablishedabove.12 0.08 0. productiondata are in growthratescomputedas first differencesof the raw data in logs.36 0. grainpricesarein levels.10 0.44 0.1820-1850 307 Country Austria England France Direction GrainPrices-) Manufacturing -+ GrainPrices Manufacturing GrainPrices . Again.70 0.17 Manufacturing -) GrainPrices Manufacturing 0.45 0.13 Netherlands GrainPrices-+ Manufacturing 0.extendedinto 1848by triggeringa crisis in the manufacturing sector.17 0.07 0.02* 0.03* -+ GrainPrices Manufacturing 0.05* 0.89 0.01* 0.08 0.61 0.61 0.The model is symmetrical: the firstrow reportsthe numberof lags for the AR process.The resultslend credibilityto our claim that the economic crisisof 1845-1847. would suggestthatthe formerseriesprecedesthe latterandhelpsin forecasting it. In general.20 -+ GrainPrices Manufacturing 0.50 0.13 a Textileproduction only.01* Lag 3 0.86 0. In orderto see whetherthereare significantshocks in the availableproductiondatafollowingsignificantshocksin grainprices. initiated by badharvests.03* 0.Manufacturing 0. Grangercausality is commonly as meaningthatthe"causal"series interpreted precedestheotherseriesandcontainsinformation useful in predictingit.03* 0.89 0.Manufacturing 0.37 Prussiaa GrainPrices .All dataareannual.01* Lag 4 0.40 0.16 0.Manufacturing -4 GrainPrices Manufacturing Grain Prices -+ Lag 1 0.20 0.15 -+ GrainPrices Manufacturing 0.13 0.06 Lag 5 0. Notes:P(F-stat)forGranger testsatdifferent lag lengths.24 0. we set the .40 0. the existenceof Granger-causality betweengrainpricesandmanufacturing does not necessarilyimplythata significantshock(in the sense definedabove)to the formerseries also causeda significantshockto the latter.18 0. Sources:See the Appendix.01* 0.44 0.14 0.but herewe shouldnot be surprised given England'sleadingrole in the processof industrialization.08 0.06 0.00* 0.43 0.01* 0. The main message of Table 1 is that grainprices are indeed Grangercausalformanufacturing in somecountries.70 0.06 0.00 0.The resultsfor Austriaand the Netherlandsare somewhat weak. as well as the numberof lagged exogenous variablesincluded.14 0. The results for Englandfall in the same category.05 0.20 0.00* 0.23 Sweden GrainPrices .55 0. butthe conversefails to hold for any single country.34 0.07 0.Revolutionsof 1848 TABLE1 GRANGERTESTSOF CAUSALITY.77 0.the evidenceclearlysuggests that changes in grainprices precededchanges in the growthrate of nonagricultural activity.28 0.00* 0. but still suggestive.06 Lag 2 0. Figure6 presentsforecasterrors(from a model similarto equation2) for the dataused in Table 1. Table 1 presentsourresults.46 0.74 0.00* 0.Or did it? After all.

Netherlands: model includes trend. 30- 30. Sources:See the Appendix. . . ._ . . _. . . 20 England v_ ___ 10 10 .30 - ?_--- - - 20 France 20Netherland .20 . .20.Pusi:txiepouto ny Netherlands:2modelsincludes-trend. . . . . 20 ~~~~Sweden Noes Al rwhrtsi ecn. _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- .o . . 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. ..308 30 Berger and Spoerer 30 20 Austria .20- 1842 1843 1844 1845 1846 1847 1848 1849 1850 1827 1829 1831 1833 1835 1837 1839 1841 1843 1845 1847 1849 -20.30 1827 1829 1831 1833 1835 1837 1839 1841 1843 1845 1847 1849 FIGURE 6 INDUSTRIAL SHOCKS. . 1827-1850 Notes:All growth rates in percent.10 . .0~~~~~~~\O .10 -30 . .20 . .210 .30 . . . . <-A *. . Prussia: textile production only. . .

runfrom 1815 to 1850. 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.Revolutionsof 1848 309 lag of the AR partuniformly to n = 5 acrossall countries. do not.42 Austria. See also note 51.where y is the growthratein manufacturing (in percent). growth.andHabsburg series startonly in 1820. Theremaining series. 1828. 4 We use m = 4 to economizeon degreesof freedom. Figuresfor all countriesare availableon request. statisticalsignificance does not guaranteethat the strengthof the connectionbetween the andmanufacturing sectorswas sufficientto explainthe downagricultural turnin production. and 1830. and Prussia show significant negative shocks to manufacturingin 1848. We estimatetwo variantsof the following equation m Yt= +Z i-l S't-s+6pt.The resultsarerobustwith regard modelused to computethe forecastsand standard errors. whereas England and Sweden.+%J848t +? (6) Equation6 basically describes an AR model with an added structural component. which were also spared a shock in grain prices.the Netherlands.p is the price of grain (in grams of fine silver per hectoliter).Where interest rateshada negativeimpacton output significant. and 1848 is a The dummyvariablethatequalsone in the year 1848 andzero otherwise.Theresultswithregard to grainprices and the revolutiondummywere similarto the resultspresentedin Table2. Additional results are available on request.France. Hungary. there are still reasonswhy the propagation argument might not yet be convincing. Thedummyvariable takesaccountof thepossibilitythatthe industrial crisis 42 All seriesarestationary according to standard ADF tests.Describingthe correlation betweenthe variablesusing a simplemultivariate regressionmodel addressesbothproblems.even thoughsome of the dataseriesarerather short:the French.Prussia.Inthe case of the Netherlands the series is stationary to changesin the lag lengthof the AR arounda trend.43 Even thoughFigure6 addsconsiderably to the evidenceproducedby the Granger tests. After all. andPrussia. .Prussian.First.the manufacturing data could themselves be influenced by the revolutionary activityof 1848. "shocks" "4Againthestatistical ruleidentifying is quiterobust.We have also experimented with one-period laggednominalandrealinterest ratesas explanatory variables forEngland.however. France.Second.and Sweden. workersprotesting in the streets are not at theirworkbenches.respectively. France.Table3 revealsthatlowerthresholds for the forecasterrors work equallywell.Ourexercise includesEngland.which experienced a grain-priceshock but no manufacturing shock. The anomaly is the Netherlands.the Habsburg countries.44 discussionof Granger causalitysuggeststhatgrainprices enterwith a lag.

09 -0.55* 1835-50 0. cases The the AR(m models = for4) -0.09*** TABLE 2 equation 6) Hungary MANUFACTURING 0.76 -0.53 -0.45 5.99* 1835-50 no percent percent (absolute) percent are in level.70) 10.09** 1820-50 10.22 -0.70 (4.14 -0.10) -0.88) (0.18 -0.54 (3. the models are Netherlands.52) -0.57 1833-50 Prussia' -0.33 0. trend term Q-tests 0.71) (1.31) 13.80 Significant (4.01 8.27 -0.31 -0.63) (1.39 (1.39 1825-50 9.10) 1820-50 -0.37) -0.16*** France DETERMINANTS -0.94 -0.15 4.18) -0.20 (0.64 (0.18 -0.66 -9.58 -0.59) -0.83) -0.95) (1.42** -0.18 -0. at HAC See and reported).11 -0.54 -0.18 (3.38*** OF (see England.49*** 0.49 1820-50 -0.49) 0.20*** -0.24) -6. -0.310 a Berger and Spoerer ** (at (not = lag Notes:= I Textile Sources: * = p.42*** RATES Netherlands 0.29) (2.19*** -0.65) (2. suggest Appendix.28 (2.87*** -0.53 0.63 -0.49) 1833-50 -13. In all residuals. Significant -0.92) (1.11) 0.16 (3.77) (2.58) (0.13 -0.06 7.33) the at Significant 1835-50 at 21. jointly and significant Sweden at include a conventional linear and levels a (Wald quadratic F-test).21 (3.43 (2.36 15.68 -0.08* 1825-50 -12.46 1835-50 0.48) 0.66 -0.58 0.80) 0.4.65 -0.81) -0.33 -0.54** England autocorrelation of theparentheses.86) -0.22*** larger) production at the the t-statistics Austria the5 10 1 only.11) (1.82 -0.14*** Sweden 2.68 (3.61 -0.) 1848.32 -0.65) 0.29** 23.51 -0. elements of the France.11 0.81 0.07) -0.15 -0.07 -0.04 1.39 (1.20 (0.78*** -0.92 (1.28 level.74 -0.05*** -0.64 0.18 (3.31 -0.56 -0. level.26 0.08** -0.71 -0.25) 13.48 1820-50 11.09 (2.34 (3.64 (6.18 1820-50 -0.05 -0.54 -0.48 -0.07 -0.59 (3.17) (2.91) 31.79) 4. 0.15*** .58 -0.38 -0.59 (2.37 -0.19 (3.07) GROWTH 0.18** 0.62 (1. 1820-50 -0.20 (1. y y y y Period R2(adj.39 -0.

to force an overalldecline in real activity.which displaya significantcoefficientonp. thus.86 (3.not of the agriculturalsupplyshock. AND REVOLUTION CRISIS So farwe have establishedthe existenceof a regionalpatternof significant shocks to grainprices-and. In England.03) percentof the actualdecline.03) percentagepoints or 32. significant.Revolutionsof 1848 311 of 1848mighthave been a consequenceof therevolution. Butwhile therevolutions playedsome role in shaping manufacturing activity.In the case of Englandthe grain-price variableactuallygains in significanceafterthe introduction of 1848.the dummy remainsinsignificant. Based on the estimatedcoefficientsin Table2.an important partof the explanation of the slumpin productionin 1848 obviously still derives from lagged grain prices.respectively). this translated into a decrease in 1848 manufacturing outputof 7.the negativeimpactof the agricultural price increaseon in the two-percentage-point industrial expansionremained range-too low.67 (23. to the cost of living in a numberof Note that to the extent that the revolution is in fact endogenous to the economic crisis. andPrussia.while the impact in England (which did not have a revolution)is significantly positive.l in bothcolumns.Hungary. The resultsfor the Dutch dataremainunchanged. Let us first considercolumns(i).Prussia.31 and46.From whathas been said aboutthe channelslinkingagriculture with manufacturing.Accordingto Columns(i).butnot in morehighly industrialized England.theperformance of the consumption channelis quiterobustwith regardto the introduction of the 1848 dummyvariable(columns(ii)). Columns(ii). In the cases of Austria.And indeed.85) gramsof fine silver from 1846 to 1847. Table2 presentsOLS estimatesof equation6.We can concludethatthe sectorwas considerquantitative impactof the graincrisis on the industrial able in France. andlacks statisticalsignificanceat conventional levels only in the cases of England(the industrial leader)andthe Netherlands.Grainpricesin Prussia(France)increased by 27.06 percent. The negative sign onpt-l remainsunchangedacrosscountriesand.andthe Habsburg countries.the sign of the impactof grainprices is as anticipated in all cases. we should rely on a model excluding the 1848 dummy 45 . and Sweden. which exclude the time dummy. the decline explainedby the graincrisisis even larger(47. we shouldexpectthe grain-price coefficientsto be negativeandsignificant.the Netherlands.45 Whatwas the quantitative impactof the 1847 graincrisis on manufacturing? Takefor instancePrussiaandFrance. thatsome of thetime seriesarerather Considering short.12 (37.with the exat least marginally ception of AustriaandHungary. The dummyhas at least a marginallysignificantnegativeimpactfor France. thatis.

But we still have to connectour economicfindings with the politicaldata.the Italianstates. Revolutions. European Revolutions. For the non-Gennancountrieswe follow experienced revolution the consensusin the literature. both experienced strong revolutionary turmoil (see Sperber. Widespread violence occurredin Baden.312 Berger and Spoerer 1845 and 1847. and column 2 the 46 A possibly critical case could be the Netherlands.Unlike Europeas a whole. Note. 109f. MecklenburgSchwerin. In the broadersense defined above.and Oldenburg. to whichFrance.48 in Table3. however. according Switzerland.Hesse-Darrnstadt.which helps explainthe propagationof the initialshock into 1848.Brunswick.The German of 1848 has long been determined historiography by the Prussia-centered Butin the 1840s the Germanstateswere unification. The two Italian countries in our sample. preemptiveconstitutional concessions occurredin Bremen. Belgium. some with constitutions(as in southernGermany). also qualify as revolutionarysituations.and the Netherlands. Geschichte. Hamburg. 4" See O Grada. we also lack grain-price data for Romania and Sicily.Ireland." pp.which experienced severe agrarian crime but arguably no revolutionary action. Denmark. a few Italianand Portugal.Bohemia.norsawtheirgovernments forced to change the constitutionsignificantly.and Spainneither experienced widespread politicalviolence. Revolution. Bavaria. 48 See Valentin. Austria. "Great Famine. "1848.. we could not datafor our sampleperiod. Column 1 Empire.47 find reliablegrain-price For the Germanstates.the otherScandinavian states. pp. Lombardy and the Papal States. 222). p. and Wurttemberg. which Steams (Revolutions. Revolutions. p.Not one of them failed to experienceeitherpoliticalviolence or preemptivereform. which experienced severe political turmoil. and the Europeanterritories of the Ottoman The datain the firstfive columnsreferto grainprices. and Goldstone. Price.. 49For these countries we were unable to find compatible grain price data extending back to the 1820s. 120. which covers nearlythe whole Ourfindingsare summarized with of of Europe the exceptions Iceland. 1. Kaelble.Russia. for the 1848 revolutions in the German states.andHungary experienced widespread political violence and thus. we then linked the grain European countries-between crisis to the manufacturing sector.46 By contrast. . vol. For instance. 285. 262f. some smaller Germanstates.revolutionsin any sense of the word." p. clearly.othersabsolutistand more or less repressive(such as Prussia). For the different states see Stearns.England.49 reports average wheat or rye prices for 1838-1845. violence onlyby undertaking which were ableto avoidwidespread preemptive constitutionalreform. that the absence of data seems equally spread across the different categories.For Ireland. 114f. evaluationis much more difficult. Saxony. It is not altogether to determine straightforward whethera given country a or not.. and for data sources Solar. Prussia. Ireland. 1) would not include in the second group. perspectiveof German fully independententities with quite differentpolitical paths. the Germanstates in our sample can be classed into only two groups.

57 2.20 93.02 76.21 81.59 2.02 -2.96 135.18 101.01 76.41 2.93 -10.57 -2.28 110.04 Growth Industrial SHOCKS.19(47) (47) (47) (46) Maximum INDUSTRIAL.68 140.33 2.74 2.48 -2.82 52.51 2.76 2.91 39. 0. (1) 67.68 61.99 100.32 93.51 109.57 146.02 -4.58 88.31 2.12 73.29 128.49 Error 1848 Industry SEForecast 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) (yes) (yes) (yes) yesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyes (10) 1848? Revolution .34(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 of 184547b Grain AGRICULTURA Agriculture Error 2.11 72.70 (47) (47) (47) (47) 119.64 (6) (%) 1848 -8.34 108.Revolutionsof 1848 313 Papal Baden France Prussia Austria Bavaria Bremen Belgium Saxony Hungary Bohemia Denmark Hamburg Lombardy Brunswick Oldenburgc Switzerland Netherlands States WOrttemberg Hesse-Darmstadt Mecklenburg-Schw.45 2.30 71.06 -24.23 127.16 (47) (47) (47) (46) (47) (46) (47) (45) (47) (46) (47) (46) (45) (47) (47) (46) (47) 2.23 2.96 66.72 103.38 2.56 1.72 (4) 2.51 (2) 149.54 2.88 82.13 62.63 (7) -2.99 73.72 105.12 110.48 52.90 Price Wheat Average 1838-45a 125.89 92.89 70.41 2. SE(Year) Price-Forecast 1845-48 TABLE AND 3 yesyesno yesyesyes yesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyes (5) Price Shock Grain1845-48? POLITICAL -4.24 2.23 2.27 2.71 2.13(47) (47) (47) (47) (47) (47) (47) (47) (47) (47) (47) 119.32 76.80 75.33 87.13 136.69(47) (47) (47) 79.

no no no yesno no (5) Price Shock Graincontinued 1845-48? 1.72 73.68(47) (48) (45) exceeded 81.94 (6) (%) 1848 Growth Industrial 1.314 ' b a Berger and Spoerer Rye Spain Russiac Finland Grams Sweden Norway Sources: England Number of prices.12 73. See of fine the years in silver per Appendix.13 -0.81 (4) 1.28 75.10 TABLE Maximum (47) (45) (46) (47) (46) (47) SE(Year) Price-Forecast 1845-48 (Column 31).25 1.74(47) 134.34 89.69 3.44 141.75 2.34 -0.57 Wheat Average 1838-45a grain hectoliter.09 (7) Error 1848 Industry SEForecast 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 .76 50.69 (2) the 1 2 0 2 1 1 average for (3) High Years Prices of 1845-47b Grain Agriculture Error 1838-45 1.27 44.31 105. which (1) Price 115. prices Wheat (Year) 1845-48a Maximum (47) Price (45) 119.08 1.

the shocks in food prices and manufacturing are Evidenceforjust seven countriesmay not be totallyperhighly correlated. Now we are able to give an answerto the questionof whetherthe European revolutionsof 1848 were caused. Columns6-8 repeatthe shock analysis for those countriesfor which we have industrial productiondata.Thereis a near-perfect regionalmatchbetween grain-price shocks and revolutions:among the 21 states experiencingrevolutionary turmoil.by short-term economic factors.we find thatonly countriesshowing a price shock in 1845-1848 experienceda manufacturing shock in 1848. 343-48). is an outlier. or at least stronglyinfluenced.in Englandand Sweden therewas neitheran industrial productionshock nor a revolution. By contrast. who finds a high geographicalcorrelation betweenpopulationpressureand statecrises in Europebetween 1750 and . of the six countrieswithouta revoOnlyDenmark lution only one. Whether the deviationof the actualfromthe forecasted pricebetween 1845 and 1848 was a "shock"in the sense definedabove (deviationgreaterthantwo standarderrors). which register suasive. those countriesknownto have experiencedan industrial shock underwent a revolutionas well.and column 10 indicateswhetheror not a countryexperienceda revolutionin thatyear.however.If the deviationbetweenactualandforecasted industrial growthis greater thantwo standard errors. The resultis surprisingly clear-cut.pp. The next step is to confrontthese resultswith the politicaldatain the last two columns. Again with the exceptionof the Netherlands. andviceThis further to versa. findingadds weight ourhypothesisthata propagation mechanismextendedthe shock waves of the agrarian crisis into 1848.we note a production shock in column 8. let us comparecolumns5 and8. showed signs of a price shock in the grain market.the "yes" is in parentheses. Norway. 20 had been hit by a grain-priceshock between 1845 and 1847. 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. Comparing columns 8 and 10 we find that.Therefore the occurrence of shocksin grainprices andmanufacturing.verymuchin line with the analysisin the preceding section.Column9 indicateswhether ornotthepoliticalatmosphere on the eve of 1848 was repressive. Column3 reportsthe numberof yearsbetween 1845 and 1847 in whichpricesreachedheightsexceedingthe averageof 1838-1845. with the exceptionof theNetherlands.Forcountrieswith immediate andsubstantial constitutional changesbutno widespread violence.Revolutionsof 1848 315 maximumprice between 1845 and 1848.is indicatedin column5.Conversely.It is also reassuring that.50 0These resultsare in line with those of Goldstone(Revolution. Incolumn4 the maximum price-forecast error of the years 1845 to 1848 is dividedby the corresponding standard error.

Detailsareavailableon request.Thistranslates intoan increasein theprobability of a revolution for a one-unitincreasein the 1847 forecasterror fromzero of about21 percentage points.only Norwayand Spainhad experienced morethana single year of highgrainpricesin thepreviousthree.83 with a SE of 0. which may have bolsteredthe dispensingregime's legitimacy.52 Note also that less sophisticatedmeasuresof the depth of the agrarian crisis lead to comparable findings. column7 showsthatanythreshold betweenzeroand .01 will separate countries with or withoutshocksin industrial in a way thatis compatible production with the economicview (except for the Netherlands).316 Berger and Spoerer The outcome is also remarkably robustwith regardto the underlying definitionof economic "shocks. The standard deviationof the 1847 forecasterrors is 0.18 wouldhaveyieldedthe sameresults.The most comprehensivecomparativestudy is that of PeterLindert. as do all those countries(exceptingtiny Brunswick)thatexperienced some sort of economic traumain the mid-1840s.significantly 1850.By contrast.namelythat25 of the 27 cases supportoureconomicview of the 1848 revolutions. An obvious candidateis poor relief.A oneunit increasefroma forecast-error level of 1 (2) increasesthe probability of a revolution by about46 (23) percentage points. and yet avoided violent revolutionin 1848 (see Figure7). regional factors may have played a role. found it very difficultto gathercomparableinformationfor our sample countries.a comparison of columns4 and 10 revealsthatindeedany thresholdvalue between 1. Of the politically stable countries. 52 Wehaveestimated a ML-binary logitmodelfortheoccurrence of a revolution.However.does not changethe qualitative results. . however.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. We have. Using the grain-price forecasterrors listedin Table3.88. institutionalandpolitical factorsmay have been important.82 and2. Note.18. Is there anythingwe can say about the outliers?First."and0 otherwise.2. with a constantand the grain-price forecasterrorin 1847. however.a simplelogit model exercise revealsthatanincreasein thepre-1848grain-price forecasterrorsignifof revolutionary icantlyincreasesthe probability activity. which for some countriesdeviatesfrom the 1847 figure. for the 27 countries or regionsin our sample. It is interestingto note thatthe countriesfor which our hypothesisfails (Denmark.The LHS variable is constructed as a dummythattakesthe value I when column 10 in Table3 shows eithera "yes"or a "(yes).51 The robustness of the resultstronglysuggestsa positive correlation betweenthe size of the price shock andthe likelihoodof a revolution.who compares tenEuropean countries andfinds.Norway." As pointedout earlier.Indeed. all countries undergoing revolutionendureda minimumof two years of above-average prices before 1848. Theestimated coefficientforthegrain-price forecasterroris 1.thatourresultsareimmuneto the criticismthatthe explanatory variable(in our case the price shocks)is endogenous.the two-standarderrorthresholdis merelya statistical ruleof thumb.For instance.57 (significant atthe4 percentlevel).andthe Netherlands)all abutthe North Sea. Second.The McFadden-R2 is 0. s' Similarly.

- ..Revolutionsof 1848 317 t t .. . Country Source: Table 3. W ei ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~cc <P r GA~~~~~~~~~~~~~4 \ b o~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~gp 7 WHEATPRICESIN EUROPE Notes: Left: averagewheat price. 1845-1848.^.immediate change. abc: intensityof price shock(if any). 1820-1845. Abc. Right: FIGuRE in garams of fineC silverper hectolitre....-... Middle: maximumwheat price. cols. .or neither.. All pricesare constitutional with violentrevolution. . 2 and 4.ABC. ...

318 Berger and Spoerer for ourpurposes. andindustry betweenagriculture significantrelationship theworld'sleadingand andSweden-but notin England.In particular." The estimated coefficients for both the grain-price forecast error (1. as one of numerousenabling factors. Violent revolutionwas significantlylikelierto occurunderrepressive politicalregimes.54 Ourfindings thussupport the ideathatthecharacter of the regimelargelydetermined theform of political upheavalin 1848." pp.as column9 of Table3 indicates. we arrive at qualitatively similar results when we use the forecast errors as presented in Table 3 instead. we employedthe logit model for explainingthe likeliin general(discussedabove).In view of the analysisput forwardin the presentstudy.the presence of a repressivepolitical regime affected only the probabilityof violence. it has crisis of 1846-1848.53 One institutional factorthatcan be assessed.52) are significant at least at the 4 percent level. "Poor Relief. Again.this view the political dynamicsresultingfrom the extreme severely underestimates of 1845-1848. theNorthSea countries wereall governedby nonrepressive.43) and the repressive-regime dummy (2. Using a numberof standard been shown that over the period 1820-1850 there was a systematicand in France. The ML-binary logit model for the occurrence ofviolent revolution includes a constant. thereis evidencethatan increasein grainprices-a good proxy for the cost See Lindert.thatpoor reliefper capitain Englandandthe Netherlands were far higherthanin the othercountries. most highly industrialized economy. 5 54Including .at most. The economic crisis startingwith the bad harvestof 1845 is regarded.26. Austria.Hungary.alongwitha model hoodof politicalrevolution explainingviolentrevolutionin particular. To pursuethis idea.Prussia. The McFadden-R2 is 0. and the dummy variable indicating repression.though.is whethera regime was repressiveor not. we have here establisheda propagationmechanism crisis of 1845-1847 with the subsequentindustrial linkingthe agricultural time-seriestools. CONCLUSIONS the 1848 revolutionsin Europeemphasize Manyhistoriansinvestigating the force of ideas as theirleadingcause. liberalregimes. but thatit was the economic crisis that set the wheels of revolutionin motion. The LHS variable is constructed as a dummy that takes the value one when column 10 of Table 3 shows a "yes.nor in the Netherlands."thatcaused the outbreak of revolutionsin early 1848. the grain-price forecast errorin 1847. 113-18.ratherthan"ideas. It is interesting that. 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. A morepointedstatement of this view economicfluctuations would be thatit was economicmisery. Details are available on request. As an initial step. We findthatwhereasanincrease in the grainpriceforecasterror significantly increased the likelihoodof both violent and preemptiverevolution.

However. constitutional reform. P. Whileinstitutions-namely. 20 followed this crudebut obviouslypowerfulrule. At the time. suffering a severe deterioration in theirsocioeconomicstatus.the regionalpattern of grain-price shocks is very similarto thatof industrial crises:if a countrywas subjected to a grain-price shock between 1845 and 1847.As such.Revolutionsof 1848 319 of living at the time-led aftera certainlag to a decline in manufacturing activity. it is based on a rathersmallnumberof observations.Austria. In fact. the yearof politicalunrest. "Moral Economy.and Hungarysuffereda shock-like decline in industrial productionin 1848. The revolutionsof 1848 tended to be violent if the regime was repressive.thepresenceor absenceof a repressive political regime-add little to the explanationof revolutionary activityas such. Of 21 countriessubjectto a grainprice shock.Thompson's"moral economy"55) and by politically discontentedtownsmen who called for liberalismand " Thompson. paralleledby significantrevolutionary activity. Using themuchsparser available dataon manufacturing we findthatFrance." .These resultsare very robustwith regardto the underlying definition of an economic shock. then it went on to undergo revolutionin 1848. the dramaticincreasein food prices in 1845-1847 must have had a strong negative effect on productionand employmentin the industrial sectorsby 1848.Among the six countriesthat escapedgrain-priceshocks. The peasants and artisansof the 1840s.While this resultis very much in line with the economicview of the 1848 events.helpto predictrevolutionary activity:if-and only if-a countrywas subjectto a shock in 1845-1848.We conclude that the presence of repressiveregimes did not triggerrevolutionary events. it experiencedrevolution.thesealternatives wereofferedbypeasantleaderswho appealed to traditional conceptionsof fairness(E.This resultis potentially important. only Denmark andin oursenserevolutionary. we againturnto grainpricesforhelp. We conclude that the occurrenceof an economic shock in the later 1840s was an important the factorin triggering 1848 revolutionsacrossEurope. It allows us to drawdirectinferencesaboutthe occurrence of revolutionary activityfromthe rich dataon European grainprices. In a second step. Norway being the peaceful exception. experienced far-reaching. we have demonstrated the regionalpatternof the economic shocksthathit variousEuropean countriespriorto 1848. Prussia. we findthattheydid exerta significantinfluenceon the formthatthis activity took.neededsome kindof alternative vision-realistic or otherwise-before theywouldbecomerevolutionaries. but probablyonly in combinationwith economic crisis. It turnsout that "shocks."defined as significantforecasterrorsbased on an adaptive expectations model.makinguse of the link establishedabove between agriculture and manufacturing. but did help to shapethem. Ideology also played a role.

If not stated otherwise. this "bargaining by riot"("Machine . " Hobsbawmhas termed Breakers. and the articles in Dowe. the data are available annually from 1815 to 1850. weighted by sales and expressed in. As both the levels and the volatility of the data are strongly influenced by the way the average is calculated." p. Price. ch. chs. European Revolutiots. food-price increaseof 1854-1855 created et al. The abbreviations in parentheses are the country codes used in Figure 7. Hence no explanation of the European revolutions of 1848 should neglect short-tenn economic factors. we see historical singularities. 4). RebelliousCentury. The currency problem can quite easily be overcome by transforming recorded local prices per local unit into grams of fine silver per hectoliter. 57). they did supply the brawn. Numerous other historical works were consulted which are not in the list of references. is the case for the Lisbon price series of Magalhaes Godinho. Sperber. Tilly neither faminenorsocialunrest. Revolutions. The likelihood that revolutionary ideology was a necessary condition for upheaval transcends a narrow economistic approach. For the European states. 1. 4.pursuing their goals in an undemocratic and often repressive political environment. Country codes in capitals stand for violent revolutions. Prix. lower case means no revolution. Very probably the only series that is partially weighted by sales is the one for France.. well. Revolutionary agitators. intensity of revolution) are taken for Germany and the Austrian Empire from Huber. euros. we have ignored the few available series for the harvest year or ones which relied only on one or two dates per year. at least. where the weighting was (or was supposed to be) done at the very first level of recording (see Drame et al. at times checked by and supplemented with data in other literature on the subject. In contrast to the crises of 1816/17. and only the "crowd" could provide it. and Valentin. needed violence (or the credible threat of it) as a political instrument. For the conversion of currencies. Geschichte.320 Berger and Spoerer democracy. because these were the prices actually observed (and responded to) in the political center. ch. which so obviously endangered the economic welfare of so many people and discredited the ancien regime so thoroughly. 6.. Lexikon. initial capitals mean preemptive revolution. see Steams. Siecle. and 7. Whenever possible.56Here. Europa. Haupt.57We conclude that without the economic crisis of 1845-1848. and Langewiesche. chs. Deutsche Verfassungsgeschichte. Appendix: Data Sources Political data (intensity of repression. pp. 7 and 8. But although the economic crises did not provide the brains. Grain-price data would ideally be an average for the harvest year. when there was still hope that the forces of restoration could be defeated. 56 The similar see C. Revolutions. 76-78. Please contact the authors for a list. This. and measures of weight we used Klimpert. 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. there would not have been the critical mass to support these new ideas. we have tried to find data for the country's capital. measures of capacity. for example.

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