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The Roman Market Economy$
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Peter Temin

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691147680

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691147680.001.0001

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Wheat Prices and Trade in the Early Roman Empire

Wheat Prices and Trade in the Early Roman Empire

(p.29) Chapter 2 Wheat Prices and Trade in the Early Roman Empire
The Roman Market Economy

Peter Temin

Princeton University Press

This chapter discusses how there is little of what economists call data on markets in Roman times, despite lots of information about prices and transactions. Data, as economists consider it, consist of a set of uniform prices that can be compared with each other. According to scholars, extensive markets existed in the late Roman Republic and early Roman Empire. Even though there is a lack of data, there are enough observations for the price of wheat, the most extensively traded commodity, to perform a test. The problem is that there is only a little bit of data by modern standards. Consequently, the chapter explains why statistics are useful in interpreting small data sets and how one deals with various problems that arise when there are only a few data points.

Keywords:   prices, transactions, economic data, extensive markets, late Roman Republic, early Roman Empire, statistics, small data sets

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