Rural depopulation in a small open economy: Ireland 1856-1876

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The paper asks whether Irish emigration between 1856 and 1876 was due to labor being pulled out of Ireland by higher wages abroad, or to labor being pushed off the land as a result of price shocks in international commodity markets favoring pasture over tillage. A computational general equilibrium model of the Irish agricultural sector is constructed and subjected to the wage and price shocks experienced by the economy over the period. The model suggests that all the rural depopulation occurring during this period was due to wage shocks (i.e., foreign labor demand), and none to commodity price shocks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)409-432
Number of pages24
JournalExplorations in Economic History
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Economics and Econometrics


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