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Real wages and the family: Adjusting real wages to changing demography in pre-modern England

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  • Schneider, Eric B.

Abstract

This paper uses demographic data drawn from Wrigley et al.'s (1997) family reconstitutions of 26 English parishes to adjust Allen's (2001) real wages to the changing demography of early modern England. Using parity progression ratios (a fertility measure) and age specific mortality for children and parents, model families are predicted in two reference periods 1650–1700 and 1750–1800. These models yield two levels of interesting results. At the individual family level, we can measure how different families' real wages changed over the family life cycle as additional children were born. At the aggregate level, we can predict thousands of families using Monte Carlo simulation, creating a realistic distribution of median family real wages in the economy. There are two main findings. First, pregnancy and lactation do not create cyclical effects in the family's income. Instead, most families' welfare ratios decline steadily across the family life cycle until children begin to leave the household, increasing the welfare ratios. Second, Allen's real wages understate or match the median of the predicted demography-adjusted distributions.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Explorations in Economic History.

Volume (Year): 50 (2013)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 99-115

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Handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:50:y:2013:i:1:p:99-115

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622830

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Keywords: Real wages; Family size; Inequality; Income distribution; Demographic history; Great Divergence;

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Cited by:
  1. Robert C. Allen, 2013. "The High Wage Economy and the Industrial Revolution: A Restatement," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _115, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  2. Schneider, Eric B., 2013. "Real wages and the family: Adjusting real wages to changing demography in pre-modern England," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 99-115.
  3. Aled Davies, 2012. "The Evolution of British Monetarism: 1968-1979," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _104, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  4. Avner Offer, 2013. "Narrow Banking, Real Estate, and Financial Stability in the UK, c.1870-2010," Economics Series Working Papers Number 116, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  5. Aled Davies, 2012. "The Evolution of British Monetarism: 1968-1979," Economics Series Working Papers Number 104, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  6. Julio Martínez-Galarraga & Marc Prat, 2014. "Wages and prices in early Catalan industrialisation," UB Economics Working Papers 2014/305, Universitat de Barcelona, Facultat d'Economia i Empresa, UB Economics.

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