Money, Culture, and Well-Being in Rome's Economic Development, 0-275 CE


The Roman Empire has long held pride of place in the collective memory of scholars, politicians, and the general public in the western world. In Money, Culture, and Well-Being in Rome's Economic Development, 0-275 CE, Daniel Hoyer offers a new approach to explain Rome's remarkable development.

Hoyer surveys a broad selection of material to see how this diverse body of evidence can be reconciled to produce a single, coherent picture of the Roman economy. Engaging with social scientific and economic theory, Hoyer highlights key issues in economic history, placing the Roman Empire in its rightful place as a special—but not wholly unique—example of a successful preindustrial state.

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Daniel Hoyer, Ph.D. (2014), is Project Manager of the Evolution Institute's Seshat: Global History Databank and Visiting Scholar at the University of Toronto. He has published extensively on a wide range of historical topics, notably concerning the epigraphic and numismatic evidence from imperial Rome.
"Daniel Hoyer’s, Money, Culture, and Well-Being in Rome's Economic Development, 0-275 CE offers an even-handed appraisal of current debates in Roman economic history as well as novel interpretations derived from numismatic and epigraphic sources. (...) this book manages to tell a cohesive and compelling story through an intensive study of a limited body of evidence and a flexible although occasionally frustrating methodological framework.(...) His book ultimately presents a credible picture that deserves attention." Colin P. Elliott in BMCR 2018.11.40
List of Illustrations
List of Roman Emperors

1 Introduction: Approaching the Imperial Roman Economy
 1 Central Aims of the Book
 2 Who Will Read This? Target Audiences
 3 Lingering Questions about Imperial Rome
 4 The Many Faces of Roman Economic History
 5 From Fine-Grained to ‘Big Picture’: Methods and Treatment of the Evidence
 6 The Contribution of Modern Thinking to Ancient Problems
 7 Book Organization
 8 Terms and Definitions

2 The Gift That Kept on Giving: Perpetual Endowments and the Role of Prosociality in Rome’s Economic Development
 1 The Evolution of Prosocial Traits from the Early Days of Rome
 2 Prosociality, Charity, and Social Capital: How Elite Benefaction Came to Be
 3 Perpetual Foundations: The Gift That Kept on Giving
 4 What Lies under the Epiphenomena?

3 Investing in the Roman Economy: Material Evidence for Economic Development
 1 Benefactions as Wealth Generators
 2 Investment Opportunities in the Roman Economy
 3 Money in the Roman Economy: The Numismatic Evidence
 4 Supplying the Demand: Coinage, Monetization, and Market Development

4 Aligning Public and Private Interests: Public Building, Private Money, and Urban Development
 1 Public Needs and Private Incentives
 2 Rome: A World of Cities
 3 Public Building in the Cities of Roman Africa: A Case Study
 4 Urbanization and the Development of the Non-Agrarian Sectors
 5 The Surprisingly Short Reach of the Roman State
 6 The Public Deeds of Private Citizens
 7 Aligning Interests

5 Measuring Economic Performance beyond GDP: Economic Growth, Income Inequality, and Roman Living Standards
 1 Real Growth in the Pre-Modern World? Debates, Controversies, and Confusion in Roman Economic History
 2 Proxy Evidence: Extrapolation or Hypothesis Testing?
 3 Rome’s 99 %: Economic Capacity and the Distribution of Wealth
 4 Sharing the Spoils of Success: Increasing Living Standards with Public Goods
 5 Collective Action and Prosociality in the Creation of Public Goods

6 From Prosociality to Civil Strife: Conflict, Stagnation, and Growing Regional Divides in the Third Century CE
 1 An Overview of the ‘Crises’ of the Third Century
 2 What Really Happened after 235 CE?
 3 Money, Investment, and Markets
 4 Production and Exchange
 5 The End of Roman Prosociality?

Conclusion: Rome’s Place in a Global History of Development

Appendix 1: List of Inscriptions from the Western Empire Recording Interest being Drawn
Appendix 2: List of Building Inscriptions from the North African Provinces Recording the Sponsor
Students and scholars of the classical Mediterranean along with other preindustrial societies and all interested in the close ties between political, cultural, and economic activity in the past will find something interesting and novel in this work.
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