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House prices in the Ottoman Empire: evidence from eighteenth-century Edirne dagger

2020-07-01
Karagedikli, Gürer
Tuncer, Ali Coskun
This study uses a new dataset of 2,246 notarial deeds of house sales from one of the major cities of the Ottoman Empire, Edirne, covering the period from 1720 to 1814. It estimates real hedonic house prices and urban wealth inequality for the housing market. It shows that house size, proximity to the commercial centre, access to fresh water, and family ties were important determinants of relative house prices. These findings also apply to the different quartiles of the market, indicating limited market segmentation. It demonstrates that there was an increase in housing wealth inequality during the eighteenth century as house prices became more dispersed. The hedonic house price index provides evidence that inflation-adjusted house prices declined substantially following the Russo-Turkish war of 1768-74. The decline is mainly explained through demographic shocks induced by plague epidemics, natural disasters, and other population movements driven by wars, army mobilization, and political upheavals.