Epidemic Trade

Lars Boerner, Battista Severgnini

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


This paper studies the spread of the Black Death as a proxy for the intensity of medieval trade flows between 1346 and 1351. The Black Death struck most areas of Europe and the wider Mediterranean. Based on a modied version of the gravity model, we estimate the speed (in kilometers per day) of transmission of the disease between the transmitting and the receiving cities. We find that the speed depends on distance, political borders, and on the political importance of a city. Furthermore, variables related to the means of transportation like rivers and the sea, religious seasons such as Advent, and geographical position are of substantial signicance. These results are the first to enable us to identify and quantify key variables of medieval trade flows based on an empirical trade model. These results shed new light on many qualitative debates on the importance and causes of medieval trade.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2012
Number of pages48
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventEuropean Economic Association & Econometric Society : 2012 Parallel Meetings - University of Málaga, Málaga, Spain
Duration: 27 Aug 201231 Aug 2012


ConferenceEuropean Economic Association & Econometric Society
LocationUniversity of Málaga
Internet address

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