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Pessimism Preserved: Real Wages in the British Industrial Revolution

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  • Robert Allen
  • Robert C. Allen

Abstract

The paper compares Feinstein`s and Clark`s consumer price and real wage indices for the British industrial revolution. The sources for their weights and component price series are evaluated. While some of Clark`s innovations are improvements, many of his changes degrade the price index. A new price index is developed using the best components of Clark`s and Feinstein`s. This index is much closer to Feinstein`s than to Clark`s. The implied growth in real wages is also close to Feinstein`s and contradicts Clark`s `optimistic` view of rising working class living standards during the industrial revolution.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number 314.

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Date of creation: 01 Apr 2007
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:314

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Keywords: Real Wage; Consumer Price Index; Inequality; Industrial Revoution;

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References

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  1. Clark, Gregory, 1998. "Commons Sense: Common Property Rights, Efficiency, and Institutional Change," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 58(01), pages 73-102, March.
  2. John Komlos, 1993. "The secular trend in the biological standard of living in the United Kingdom, 1730-1860," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 46(1), pages 115-144, 02.
  3. Crafts, N. F. R., 1982. "Regional price variations in England in 1843: An aspect of the standard-of-living debate," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 51-70, January.
  4. Horrell, Sara, 1996. "Home Demand and British Industrialization," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 56(03), pages 561-604, September.
  5. Allen, Robert C., 2000. "Economic structure and agricultural productivity in Europe, 1300 1800," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 4(01), pages 1-25, April.
  6. 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.
  7. Clark, Gregory, 1998. "Renting The Revolution," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 58(01), pages 206-210, March.
  8. Crafts, N. F. R., 1985. "English Workers' Real Wages During the Industrial Revolution: Some Remaining Problems," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 45(01), pages 139-144, March.
  9. Gregory Clark, 2001. "Farm Wages and Living Standards in the Industrial Revolution: England,1670–1869[This resea]," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 54(3), pages 477-505, 08.
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As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. links for 2010-02-11
    by Brad DeLong in Grasping Reality with the Invisible Hand on 2010-02-11 08:05:21
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Cited by:
  1. Roger Fouquet & Peter J.G. Pearson, 2012. "The Long Run Demand for Lighting:Elasticities and Rebound Effects in Different Phases of Economic Development," Economics of Energy & Environmental Policy, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1).
  2. Alex Trew, 2014. "Spatial Takeoff in the First Industrial Revolution," Discussion Paper Series, Department of Economics 201401, Department of Economics, University of St. Andrews, revised 01 Jan 2014.
  3. Joshua L. Rosenbloom & Thomas J. Weiss, 2011. "Economic Growth in the Mid Atlantic Region: Conjectural Estimates for 1720 to 1800," NBER Working Papers 17215, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Roger Fouquet, 2012. "Trends in Income and Price Elasticities of Transport Demand (1850-2010)," Working Papers 2012-01, BC3.
  5. Allen, Robert C., 2009. "Engels' pause: Technical change, capital accumulation, and inequality in the british industrial revolution," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 46(4), pages 418-435, October.
  6. Roger Fouquet, 2013. "Long Run Demand for Energy Services: the Role of Economic and Technological Development," Working Papers 2013-03, BC3.
  7. 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.

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