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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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Price Behavior in the Roman Empire

Price Behavior in the Roman Empire

(p.70) Chapter 4 Price Behavior in the Roman Empire
The Roman Market Economy

Peter Temin

Princeton University Press

This chapter takes the scattered price data that have survived in order to make an index of Roman inflation. The index cannot describe the details of inflation, but it allows comparison between periods of time. The chapter suggests that the persistent inflation of the late Roman Empire came from political instability at the top of the hierarchy. It also raises an important problem in going from correlation to causation—the identification problem. As a result, economists propose an identification strategy to suggest how Roman inflation got its start in the late second century. The chapter also shows how, despite a great scarcity of price data for the Roman Empire, ancient historians appear to have conventional opinions about Roman price movements.

Keywords:   price data, Roman inflation, Roman Empire, political instability, identification problem, identification strategy, Roman price movements

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