Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Neither so low nor so short! Wages and heights in eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries colonial Hispanic America

Contents:

Author Info

  • Rafael Dobado González

    ()
    (Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Instituto Complutense de Estudios Internacionales (ICEI))

  • Hector García

    ()
    (Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Instituto Complutense de Estudios Internacionales (ICEI))

Abstract

Based on substantial empirical work, our paper contributes to the ongoing debate on the historical causes of contemporary Latin America problems of development (slow growth and high inequality). It shows solid quantitative evidence on wages and heights for Bourbon Hispanic America that, in our opinion, challenges mainstream assumptions about the –allegedly negative- effects of Spanish colonialism on the welfare of common people. Purchasing capacity of miners and labourers in terms of grain and, especially, of meat was generally equal to -or higher than- that in most parts of Europe and Asia. Heights of some 5000 recruits in the colonial army and militias show a significant inter-regional variance. In South-eastern New Spain they turn out to be slightly below Western standards whereas in Northern Mexico and Venezuela (Maracaibo) they are comparable to those of Central, Eastern and Southern Europe. Thus, wages of ordinary Hispanic Americans in eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries were not low by international standards. Neither were their physical statures always shorter than the European norm in the middle of the eighteenth century. Our results might carry other far-reaching implications. On the one hand, an increasing and influent scholarship characterizes colonial Hispanic America as an extreme case of economy based on extractive institutions and inequality [Engerman and Sokoloff (1994, 2002, 2005); Acemoglu, Johnson and Robinson (2002)]. Was it really the case? Our response is somewhat sceptical. On the other hand, calculating ratios of heights and real wages to GDP per capita estimates [Maddison (2009)] for 1820 converts Hispanic America into a clear outlier within a wide sample of countries. This finding suggests that available estimations on Bourbon Hispanic America GDP per capita should be revised upwards.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://eprints.ucm.es/9762/1/WP_14-09.pdf
File Function: Full text
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Instituto Complutense de Estudios Internacionales in its series Working Papers del Instituto Complutense de Estudios Internacionales with number 14-09.

as in new window
Length: 49 pages
Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ucm:wpaper:14-09

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Finca Mas Ferre, Campus de Somosaguas, 28223 Madrid
Phone: 913942495
Fax: 34 91 394 24 87
Email:
Web page: https://www.ucm.es/icei/
More information through EDIRC

Order Information:
Postal: Instituto Complutense de Estudios Internacionales. Finca Mas Ferre Campus de Somosaguas 28223 Madrid

Related research

Keywords: Heights; Welfare; Colonialism; Development; Latin America.;

References

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Ewout Frankema & Marlous van Waijenburg, 2011. "Structural Impediments to African Growth? New Evidence from Real Wages in British Africa, 1880-1965," Working Papers 0024, Utrecht University, Centre for Global Economic History.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ucm:wpaper:14-09. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Águeda González Abad).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.