Preindustrial economic history of Ukraine is a fairly unexplored subject, especially in terms of quantitative analysis. A whole range of research questions that can be effectively dealt with in a quantitative way remain unattended. They include: internal coherence of Ukrainian agricultural market, its integration into the Russian imperial and international ... (Show more)
Preindustrial economic history of Ukraine is a fairly unexplored subject, especially in terms of quantitative analysis. A whole range of research questions that can be effectively dealt with in a quantitative way remain unattended. They include: internal coherence of Ukrainian agricultural market, its integration into the Russian imperial and international market networks, price dynamics and its factors, effects of growing administrative effectiveness onto the connectivity and integration of the market, relative importance of local, regional, national, and international factors in price formation and its dynamics, etc.
The present research project aims to trace the dynamics of Ukrainian market integration over the middle and late 18th century by decadal comparisons. The years of 1730-1790 have witnessed an intermittent process of social and political stabilization in the Hetmanate, an autonomous part of Russian empire, which covered the north-eastern quadrant of the present-day Ukraine. Thanks to the growing domestic peace and introduction of uniform administrative system, the Hetmanate has enjoyed a period of growing prosperity, which has been regularly interrupted by resource-intensive warfare with the neighboring powers, in most cases – against the Ottoman empire. These and other external events have generated a number of price shocks which can also be explored as useful cases providing a glimpse into the workings of the agricultural market at an early stage of its development. By establishing the overall dynamics of Ukrainian market integration over the five decades, as well as the origination, development, and dying-out of its price shocks, we will quantitatively chart the foundations of Ukraine’s economy of the period in question to contribute to the understanding of the sources of its growth and its effects on the social composition of population.
Our analysis is based on an extensive dataset of agricultural prices, which was assembled by the author over the last ten years. The dataset covers the years 1730-1790 and includes prices for a number of agricultural products recorded over 41 locations in the Hetmanate. Of these, observations were conducted twice per week at 23 locations and once a week at 18 locations. The commodities include rye (grain and flour), oat, wheat, salt, firewood, hay, buckwheat, barley, pea, millet, meat, vegetable oil, and liquor. The dataset suffers from a number of drawbacks: it is spatially and temporally interrupted, some commodities are only seasonally available, units of weight and volume are changing, different types of values are reported from different locations. Yet, all prices are expressed in terms of the same currency and the data is fine-grained (two observations per week in most locations, which yields over 100 observations per year). (Show less)