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Some Dimensions of the ‘Quality of Life’ During the British Industrial Revolution

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  • N. F. R. Crafts

Abstract

The paper sets out estimates for various aspects of well-being during British industrialisation. Judgements about changes in living standards are shown to be sensitive to weighting procedures. It is argued that recent participants in the famous standards of living controversy have assigned undue importance to trends in heights and that concern for quality of life rather than real wages need not imply a pessimistic view of changes in aggregate well-being during the industrial revolution. Urban mortality experience is shown to be the least satisfactory aspect of well-being and it is suggested that this reflects difficulties of financing local public goods.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Economic History Society in its journal The Economic History Review.

Volume (Year): 50 (1997)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
Pages: 617-639

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Handle: RePEc:bla:ehsrev:v:50:y:1997:i:4:p:617-639

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References

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  1. Richard H. Steckel, 1995. "Stature and the Standard of Living," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(4), pages 1903-1940, December.
  2. Qizilbash, Mozaffar, 1997. "Pluralism and well-being indices," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 25(12), pages 2009-2026, December.
  3. Richard H. Steckel, 1992. "Stature and Living Standards in the United States," NBER Chapters, in: American Economic Growth and Standards of Living before the Civil War, pages 265-310 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Roderick Floud, 1984. "The Heights of Europeans Since 1750: A New Source For European Economic History," NBER Working Papers 1318, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Sudhir Anand & Martin Ravallion, 1993. "Human Development in Poor Countries: On the Role of Private Incomes and Public Services," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(1), pages 133-150, Winter.
  6. Horrell, Sara & Humphries, Jane, 1992. "Old Questions, New Data, and Alternative Perspectives: Families' Living Standards in the Industrial Revolution," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 52(04), pages 849-880, December.
  7. N. F. R. Crafts & C. K. Harley, 1992. "Output growth and the British industrial revolution: a restatement of the Crafts-Harley view," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 45(4), pages 703-730, November.
  8. Williamson, Jeffrey G., 1990. "The impact of the Corn Laws just prior to repeal," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 123-156, April.
  9. Sen, Amartya, 1979. "The Welfare Basis of Real Income Comparisons: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 17(1), pages 1-45, March.
  10. Feinstein, Charles, 1988. "The Rise and Fall of the Williamson Curve," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 48(03), pages 699-729, September.
  11. Roderick Floud & Bernard Harris, 1997. "Health, Height, and Welfare: Britain, 1700-1980," NBER Chapters, in: Health and Welfare during Industrialization, pages 91-126 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Richard H. Steckel & Roderick Floud, 1997. "Health and Welfare during Industrialization," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number stec97-1, May.
  13. Dasgupta, Partha & Weale, Martin, 1992. "On measuring the quality of life," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 119-131, January.
  14. John Komlos, . "The Secular Trend in the Biological Standard of Living in the United Kingdom, 1730-1860," Articles by John Komlos 19, Department of Economics, University of Munich.
  15. Hans-Joachim Voth & Tim Leunig, 1996. "Did smallpox reduce height?: stature and the standard of living in London, 1770-1873," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 497, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  16. R. V. Jackson, 1994. "Inequality of incomes and lifespans in England since 1688," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 47(3), pages 508-524, 08.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Hasan, Lubna Hasan, 2007. "On Measuring the Complexity of Urban Living," MPRA Paper 6619, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2008. "Hypertension and happiness across nations," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 218-233, March.
  3. Oswald, A.J., 1997. "Happiness and Economic Performance," Papers 18, Centre for Economic Performance & Institute of Economics.
  4. Steckel, Richard H., 2009. "Heights and human welfare: Recent developments and new directions," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 1-23, January.
  5. George R. Boyer, 1998. "The Historical Background of the Communist Manifesto," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 151-174, Fall.
  6. Sue Bowden & Blessing Chiripanhura & Paul Mosley, 2008. "Measuring and explaining poverty in six African countries: A long-period approach," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(8), pages 1049-1079.
  7. Nicholas Crafts, 1998. "Forging Ahead and Falling Behind: The Rise and Relative Decline of the First Industrial Nation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 193-210, Spring.

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