The nitrogen hypothesis and the english agricultural revolution: A biological analysis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

A biological model of nitrogen in agriculture is specified for early modern England and used to analyze the growth in grain yields from the middle ages to the industrial revolution. Nitrogen-fixing plants accounted for about half of the rise in yields; the rest came from better cultivation, seeds, and drainage. The model highlights the slow chemical reactions that governed the release of the nitrogen introduced by convertible husbandry and the cultivation of legumes. However efficient were England's institutions, nitrogen's chemistry implied that the English agricultural revolution would be much more gradual than the Green Revolution of the twentieth century.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)182-210
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Economic History
Volume68
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2008

Fingerprint

Agricultural Revolution
Nitrogen
England
Early Modern England
Green Revolution
Medieval Period
Drainage
Industrial Revolution
Legumes
Agriculture
Husbandry
20th century
Green revolution
Industrial revolution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)

Cite this

The nitrogen hypothesis and the english agricultural revolution : A biological analysis. / Allen, Robert (Bob).

In: Journal of Economic History, Vol. 68, No. 1, 01.03.2008, p. 182-210.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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