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A Land of Milk and ButterHow Elites Created the Modern Danish Dairy Industry$
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Markus Lampe and Paul Sharp

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226549507

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226549644.001.0001

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The Economic and Political Context for Danish Agricultural Development, ca. 1660–1850

The Economic and Political Context for Danish Agricultural Development, ca. 1660–1850

(p.24) 2 The Economic and Political Context for Danish Agricultural Development, ca. 1660–1850
A Land of Milk and Butter

Markus Lampe

Paul Sharp

University of Chicago Press

We provide the economic and political context for Denmark in the first decades of the period we consider. Denmark was a relatively poor country before the mid-nineteenth century, based on most GDP/capita and real wage estimates. We summarize economic theories pertinent to understanding and contextualizing Denmark’s economic performance over this period, specifically those relating to geography, demography and the disease environment, institutions and politics, human capital, and culture. Finally, we present a historical overview of the Danish experience. We find that Denmark was a poor country which had suffered immensely through various military defeats, but which nevertheless enjoyed a fortuitous geography (aided by various investments in infrastructure) and was in the process of undertaking an ambitious institutional reform program. This included reforms of both central and local administration, the establishment of scientific societies, a scientific press, and institutions for higher education, schools, and a gradual (but sometimes interrupted) embrace of enlightenment thought.

Keywords:   education, living standards, reforms, theories of economic development, geography, culture, history of Denmark

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