Just Add Milk: A Productivity Analysis of the Revolutionary Changes in Nineteenth Century Danish Dairying
|“Cows on Saltholm” (Theodor Philippsen, 1892), Danish National Gallery|
What is it that makes agricultural producers more productive? In this paper, Markus Lampe and Paul Sharp examine the Danish agricultural revolution, a period when first large and then small farmers caught up quickly with and extended the productivity frontier in milk production – most of it being exported in the form of butter and, as a byproduct, bacon, to the growing industrial cities of Britain. Soon, Danish dairying led the world in terms of productivity. Uniquely in a world perspective, high quality micro-level data exist documenting this episode, from surveys of manor/estate farms conducted by leading dairy economists for the Danish periodical Tidsskrift for Landøkonomi (Danish Journal of Agricultural Economics) over a number of years from 1880.
The working paper is EHES number 55 and can be found here.