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The Surprising Wealth of Pre-industrial England

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Author Info

  • Gregory Clark
  • Joe Cummins
  • Brock Smith

    (Department of Economics, University of California Davis)

Abstract

Occupations listed in wills reveal that as early as 1560 effectively only 60% of the English engaged in farming. Even by 1817, well into the Industrial Revolution, the equivalent primary share, once we count in food and raw material imports, was still 52%. By implication, incomes in pre-industrial England were close to those of 1800. Urbanization rates are not a good guide to pre-industrial income levels. Many rural workers were engaged in manufacturing, services and trade. The occupation shares also imply pre-industrial England was rich enough in 1560 to rank above the bottom fifth of countries in 2007.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of California, Davis, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 1014.

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Length: 36
Date of creation: 07 Jul 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cda:wpaper:10-14

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Keywords: Growth; England; Pre-industrial;

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References

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  1. Gregory Clark, 2009. "The Macroeconomic Aggregates for England, 1209-2008," Working Papers 919, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  2. Lindert, Peter H., 1980. "English Occupations, 1670–1811," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 40(04), pages 685-712, December.
  3. Clark, Gregory, 2010. "The Consumer Revolution: Turning Point in Human History, or Statistical Artifact?," MPRA Paper 25467, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Maddison, Angus, 2007. "Contours of the World Economy 1-2030 AD: Essays in Macro-Economic History," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199227204, Octomber.
  5. Robert C. Allen, 2008. "A Review of Gregory Clark's A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(4), pages 946-73, December.
  6. E. A. Wrigley, 2007. "English county populations in the later eighteenth century -super-1," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 60(1), pages 35-69, 02.
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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Pre-industrial revolution England did not grow, but was rich
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2010-11-03 14:56:00
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Cited by:
  1. Clark, Gregory, 2010. "1381 and the Malthus Delusion," MPRA Paper 25466, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Broadberry, Stephen & Campbell, Bruce M.S. & van Leeuwen, Bas, 2013. "When did Britain industrialise? The sectoral distribution of the labour force and labour productivity in Britain, 1381–1851," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 16-27.

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