The Market Integration of the Prussian Economy in the 19th Century. On the Fluctuation of Rye Prices between 1821 and 1865

Resource Type
Dataset : Survey and aggregate data
  • Fremdling, Rainer
  • Hohorst, Gerd
Publication Date
  • ZA:
    • Historical Studies Data
  • Abstract

    This analysis is still focused on the widespread hypothesis that the 19th century was the century of integration. The work of Rainer Fremdling and Gerd Hohorst ensues an analysis by Ernst Engel from 1861, which only take the grain price development in Prussia into account: Engel assumed that the railway could have effected a reduction in price differences, especially between the eastern surplus and the western deficit territories. Moreover, Engels noticed an increasing market integration in Prussia between the 1820s and the 1860s; According to his findings, this integration had been accelerated in a decisive manner by the railway as a new transport medium (Engel, E., Grain Prices, Crop Yields, and Grain Trade in the Prussian State – [Die Getreidepreise, die Ernteerträge und der Getreidehandel im preußischen Staate], from: Zeitschrift des Königlich Preußischen Statistischen Bureaus, 1 (1861), p. 249-289). Using an operationalising formulation, the authors have verified this assumption by examining the rye price development in 65 Prussian cities. Summary of results: (1) The analysis reveals a strong fluctuation without any distinct trend. (2) Although quite a few particular movements are notable for some years, all market locations seem to follow the same cyclical fluctuations during the whole period examined in this study. (3) In general, a distinct West-East divide manifests itself, i.e. a price decrease from the West to the East. This fact complies with the expected correlation between supply and demand (local crops plus import and export). (4) However, a decrease in price differences in the course of time, i.e. an increasing market integration, particularly due to the expansion of the railway system, is not discernable. The application of statistical methods(coefficient of variation, analysis of correlation and regression, spectral analysis) led the authors to the following conclusion: The hypothesis of a growing integration of the rye markets in Prussia between 1821-1865 is still highly probable, in particular because the chances of an operational formulation are considerably great. The fact that we have found but a relatively week empirical pro-argument within the temporal development of the variation coefficient yet could be brought about by the contemporary status of the study, which does not appear quite advanced not only due to the fact that it has not been possible to conduct a bivariate spectral analysis so far; it is remarkable, however, that most evidences suggest a high degree of integration already existing in this period. The exports of rye and the possible domestic market effects after the establishment of the German Customs Union (German “Zollverein”) have not been examined. There is evidence that an integrated rye market – also ? - in Prussia developed within the period examined in this study. On the other hand, an increasing market integration – as suggested by Engel and Sax – seems hardly verifiable for the period between 1821 and 1865 (Fremdling/Hohorst, et al. l., 79). Tables in HISTAT: Rye prices of 65 Prussian market towns (1821-1865) Timeseries are downloadable via the online system HISTAT (
Temporal Coverage
  • 1821 / 1865
Geographic Coverage
  • Historical German lands (-1871) (DQDE)
    A total of 63 significant trading towns of Prussia, among others Berlin, Cologne; the seaports of the Baltic Sea: Koenigsberg, Memel, Danzig, Stettin, Stralsund; Magdeburg, Frankfurt-Oder, Thorn, Schweidnitz in Silesia, Halberstadt in Saxony, Aachen in Rhineland, Muenster.
Sampled Universe
A total of 63 significant trading towns of Prussia from 1821 to 1865, among others Berlin, Cologne; the seaports of the Baltic Sea: Koenigsberg, Memel, Danzig, Stettin, Stralsund; Magdeburg, Frankfurt-Oder, Thorn, Schweidnitz in Silesia, Halberstadt in Saxony, Aachen in Rhineland, Muenster.
Data and File Information
  • Unit Type: Text Unit
    Number of Units: 31
    Number of Variables: 18
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Alternative Identifiers
  • ZA8229 (Type: ZA-No.)
  • Fremdling, Rainer; Hohorst, Gerd: Marktintegration der preußischen Wirtschaft im 19. Jahrhundert – Skizze eines Forschungsansatzes zur Fluktuation der Roggenpreise zwischen 1821 und 1865. In: Fremdling, R.; Tilly, R.H. (Hrsg.): Industrialisierung und Raum. Historisch-Sozialwissenschaftliche Forschungen; Bd. 7. Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta 1979, S. 56-101.

Update Metadata: 2021-04-07 | Issue Number: 244 | Registration Date: 2010-07-23