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Real Wages and the Family: Adjusting Real Wages to Changing Demography in Pre-Modern England

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  • Eric Schneider

    ()
    (History Faculty and Nuffield College, University of Oxford, UK)

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

Paper provided by Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford in its series Oxford University Economic and Social History Series with number _099.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: 31 May 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nuf:esohwp:_099

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Web page: http://www.nuff.ox.ac.uk/economics/

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  1. Eric Schneider, 2012. "Prices and Production: Agricultural Supply Response in Fourteenth-Century England," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _097, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  2. Allen, Robert C. & Bassino, Jean-Pascal & Ma, Debin & Moll-Murata, Christine & Zanden, Jan Luiten van, 2009. "Wages, prices, and living standards in China, 1738-1925: in comparison with Europe, Japan, and India," CEI Working Paper Series 2009-03, Center for Economic Institutions, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  3. Horrell, Sara & Humphries, Jane & Voth, Hans-Joachim, 2001. "Destined for Deprivation: Human Capital Formation and Intergenerational Poverty in Nineteenth-Century England," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 339-365, July.
  4. Rui P. Esteves, 2011. "The Political Economy of Global Financial Liberalisation in Historical Perspective," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _089, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
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  7. Jane Humphries, 2011. "The Lure of Aggregates and the Pitfalls of the Patriarchal Perspective: A Critique of the High Wage Economy Interpretation of the British Industrial Revolution," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _091, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  8. Douglas A. Irwin & Kevin H. O'Rourke, . "Coping with Shocks and Shifts: The Multilateral Trading System in Historical Perspective," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp387, IIIS.
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  11. Allen,Robert C., 2009. "The British Industrial Revolution in Global Perspective," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521868273.
  12. 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.
  13. Horrell, Sara & Meredith, David & Oxley, Deborah, 2009. "Measuring misery: Body mass, ageing and gender inequality in Victorian London," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 93-119, January.
  14. Florian Ploeckl, 2010. "The Zollverein and the Formation of a Customs Union," Economics Series Working Papers Number 84, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  15. Robert C. Allen & Jacob Louis Weisdorf, 2010. "Was there an ‘Industrious Revolution’ before the Industrial Revolution? An Empirical Exercise for England, c. 1300-1830," Discussion Papers 10-14, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  16. Simon C. Holmes & Florian Ploeckl, 2012. "Bank on Steel? Joint-stocks and the Rationalisation of the British Interwar Steel Industry," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _093, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  17. Eric B. Schneider, 2011. "Evaluating the Effectiveness of Yield-Raising Strategies in Medieval England: An Econometric Approach," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _090, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  18. Roderick Floud & Robert W. Fogel & Bernard Harris & Sok Chul Hong, 2011. "The Changing Body: Health, Nutrition, and Human Development in the Western World since 1700," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number foge10-1.
  19. Allen, Robert C., 2001. "The Great Divergence in European Wages and Prices from the Middle Ages to the First World War," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 411-447, October.
  20. Jane Humphries, 2011. "The Lure of Aggregates and the Pitfalls of the Patriarchal Perspective: A Critique of the High Wage Economy Interpretation of the British Industrial Revolution," Economics Series Working Papers Paper 91, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
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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. 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.
  3. Eric B. Schneider, 2012. "Real Wages and the Family: Adjusting Real Wages to Changing Demography in Pre-Modern England," Economics Series Working Papers Number 99, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  4. Avner Offer, 2013. "Narrow banking, real estate, and financial stability in the UK, c.1870-2010," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _116, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  5. 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.
  6. Aled Davies, 2012. "The Evolution of British Monetarism: 1968-1979," Economics Series Working Papers Number 104, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.

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