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Economic Conditions in Early Modern Bengal: A Contribution to the Divergence Debate

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  • Roy, Tirthankar

Abstract

The paper contributes to the debate on relative levels of living in the early modern world by estimating the income of and probable range of income growth in Bengal before European colonization. The exercise yields two conclusions, (a) average income in Bengal was significantly smaller than that in contemporary Western Europe, and (b) there is insufficient basis to infer either growth or decline in average income in the 50 years before colonization and the century after. The former conclusion is relevant to the discussion on the origins of international economic inequality, or ‘divergence’, and the latter is relevant to the scholarship that considers the economic effects of colonialism.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal The Journal of Economic History.

Volume (Year): 70 (2010)
Issue (Month): 01 (March)
Pages: 179-194

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Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:70:y:2010:i:01:p:179-194_00

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  1. Roy, Tirthankar, 2006. "The Economic History of India 1857-1947," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, edition 2, number 9780195684308, Octomber.
  2. Broadberry, Stephen N & Gupta, Bishnupriya, 2005. "The Early Modern Great Divergence: Wages, Prices and Economic Development in Europe and Asia, 1500-1800," CEPR Discussion Papers 4947, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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Cited by:
  1. Roy, Tirthankar, 2011. "Consumption of cotton cloth in India, 1795-1940," CEPR Discussion Papers 8669, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Stephen Broadberry, 2013. "Accounting for the great divergence," Economic History Working Papers 54573, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
  3. Broadberry, Stephen; Gupta, 2010. "Indian GDP, 1600 -1870: Some Preliminary Estimates Comparison with Britain," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 07, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  4. repec:cge:warwcg:159 is not listed on IDEAS

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