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The Surprising Wealth of Pre-industrial England

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  • Clark, Gregory
  • Cummins, Joe
  • Smith, Brock

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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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 25468.

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Date of creation: 04 Jul 2010
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:25468

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Keywords: Long Run Growth England;

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  1. Gregory Clark & Michael Huberman & Peter H. Lindert, 1995. "A British food puzzle, 1770–1850," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, Economic History Society, vol. 48(2), pages 215-237, 05.
  2. E. A. Wrigley, 2007. "English county populations in the later eighteenth century -super-1," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, Economic History Society, vol. 60(1), pages 35-69, 02.
  3. Gregory Clark, 2009. "The Macroeconomic Aggregates for England, 1209-2008," Working Papers, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics 919, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  4. 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.
  5. Clark, Gregory, 2010. "The Consumer Revolution: Turning Point in Human History, or Statistical Artifact?," MPRA Paper 25467, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Lindert, Peter H., 1980. "English Occupations, 1670–1811," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, vol. 40(04), pages 685-712, December.
  7. Maddison, Angus, 2007. "Contours of the World Economy 1-2030 AD: Essays in Macro-Economic History," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, number 9780199227204, October.
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  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, 2013. "1381 and the Malthus delusion," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 4-15.
  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, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 16-27.

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