Berger, Helge; Spoerer, Mark
Economic crises and the European revolutions of 1848.
In: The Journal of Economic History, Vol. 61, No. 2: pp. 293-326
Recent historical research tends to view the 1848 revolutions in Europe as caused by
a surge of radical ideas and by long-term socioeconomic problems. However, many
contemporary observers interpreted much of the upheaval as a consequence of shortterm
economic causes, specifically the serious shortfall in food supply that had
shaken large parts of the Continent in 1845–1847, and the subsequent industrial
slump. Applying standard quantitative methods to a data set of 27 European countries,
we show that it was mainly immediate economic misery, and the fear thereof,
that triggered the European revolutions of 1848.