Market Integration during the Period of Industrialisation in Norway
The prevalence of regional disparities in the past is generally acknowledged. We know less, however, about their subsequent disappearance, and in the face of vast amounts of price and wage observations, the historian has too often resigned himself to the task of compilation rather than generalisation. Thus, it is usually assumed, less often ascertained, that disparities prevailed in the earlier stages and that with industrialisation they have either disappeared or been sharply reduced. The corollary is the idea that industrialisation can be analysed as a case of market integration. The proposition runs as follows: industrialisation implies an exchange economy in which capital, labour and commodities are bought and sold in their respective markets. With increasing information and mobility of factors the price fluctuations should, so to speak, begin to get synchronised. Once, for instance, wages in the different labour markets begin to show strong co-variation in the various regions or industries, the observer would conclude that market integration had been established. By the same token, industrialisation could be said to have been completed, having imparted its ethos and pulse to all parts of the economy. In its simplest outline, then, the proposition is that the trends towards increasing co-variation in prices and wages may be used as a measuring rod for describing and analysing the process of industrialisation. Hence two sets of problems: first, do data on wages and prices show strong sectoral and regional disparities in fluctuations in the pre-industrial era?
KeywordsLabour Market Wage Rate Market Integration Regional Disparity Price Fluctuation
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- 1.As to the capital market during this period, see J.T. Klovland, Money and International Reserve Flows in Norway under the Gold Standard Regime 1880–1913: A Test of the Monetary Approach to the Balance of Payments, Norwegian School of Economics (NSE), Discussion paper 02/77; and J.T. Klovland, ‘Obligasjonsrenten i Norge’ (The Bond Yield in Norway) 1852–1976, Statstkonomisk Tidsskrift 1976, pp. 1–35.Google Scholar
- 2.Areview of the contents of this archive is to be found in O. GjOlberg, Professor dr. Ingvar Wedervangs pris-historiske arkiv NSE, 1974 (a).Google Scholar
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- 4.Det Statistiske Centralbyrâ (CBS), Markedspriser paa korn og pote ter (Market Prices for Cereals and Potatoes) 1836–1914 (Oslo, 1915).Google Scholar
- 5.The data are to be found in Gjiilberg, op. cit, 1974 (b).Google Scholar
- 6.The data have been derived from the Wedervang archive in the three theses by Bekkelund, Tjeldnes and Teigen.Google Scholar
- 7.We owe this point to Professor Alan Milward, who in a written communication forwarded a possible alternative interpretation of the unexpected results for the period after 1870.Google Scholar