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Faculty of Economics

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Van den Heuvel, D. and Ogilvie, S.

Retail development in the consumer revolution: The Netherlands, c. 1670-c. 1815

Explorations in Economic History

Vol. 50(1) pp. 69-87 (2013)

Abstract: The Netherlands pioneered an early modern ‘Retail Revolution’, facilitating the Consumer Revolution. We analyze 959 Dutch retail ratios using multivariate regressions. Retail density rose with female headship everywhere. Density was high in Holland, but moderate in intermediate provinces and low in Overijssel. Differences in retail density between large and small settlements were trivial in Holland, moderate in intermediate provinces, and prominent in Overijssel. Retail ratios stagnated everywhere across the eighteenth century but rose sharply after 1800. The Dutch Retail Revolution did not unleash ineluctable growth, we conclude, but varied significantly with agrarian structure, the institutional powers of guilds, and female autonomy.

JEL Codes: L81, N33, N43, N73, N93, R12

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