How do we construct a simulation model of production, consumption, and reproduction of the medieval English peasantry?
We are working to implement an agent-based simulation model (coded in Java) that will produce new estimates of social mobility for the medieval English peasantry. We have already completed two main stages of our project. First we organized, processed, and analyzed a data set of over 30,000 individual seed yield entries from harvest records of English manors during the period 1211 to 1491. We used this data to produce an aggregated time series and a time series broken down by the major medieval crops: wheat, barley, and oats. During the second stage of the project we used the estimate of seed yields as an input to our agent- based simulation model. Each period agents in our model pull a seed yield realization from the historical series as an input into a model of production, consumption, and fertility choice. We then built into our model other relevant consumption smoothing mechanisms such as storage, pooling, a labor market, a capital market, and a land market. Currently, we are in the stage of benchmarking the simulation model against known historical outcomes of demographics and wealth distribution. We then plan to use this model to generate counterfactual estimates of social mobility (and other measures).