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The early modern great divergence: wages, prices and economic development in Europe and Asia, 1500-1800 -super-1

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  • STEPHEN BROADBERRY
  • BISHNUPRIYA GUPTA

Abstract

Contrary to the claims of Pomeranz, Parthasarathi, and other 'world historians', the prosperous parts of Asia between 1500 and 1800 look similar to the stagnating southern, central, and eastern parts of Europe rather than the developing north-western parts. In the advanced parts of India and China, grain wages were comparable to those in north-western Europe, but silver wages, which conferred purchasing power over tradable goods and services, were substantially lower. The high silver wages of north-western Europe were not simply a monetary phenomenon, but reflected high productivity in the tradable sector. The 'great divergence' between Europe and Asia was already well underway before 1800. Copyright Economic History Society 2005.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen Broadberry & Bishnupriya Gupta, 2006. "The early modern great divergence: wages, prices and economic development in Europe and Asia, 1500-1800 -super-1," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 59(1), pages 2-31, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ehsrev:v:59:y:2006:i:1:p:2-31
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Broadberry, Stephen & Custodis, Johann & Gupta, Bishnupriya, 2015. "India and the great divergence: An Anglo-Indian comparison of GDP per capita, 1600–1871," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 58-75.
    2. Stephen Broadberry & Hanhui Guan & David Daokui Li, 2017. "China, Europe and the Great Divergence: A Study in Historical National Accounting, 980-1850," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _155, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    3. Erdkamp, Paul, 2016. "Economic growth in the Roman Mediterranean world: An early good-bye to Malthus?," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 1-20.
    4. Broadberry,Stephen; Ghosal, Sayantan; Proto, Eugenio, 2011. "Is Anonymity the Missing Link Between Commercial and Industrial Revolution?," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 54, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    5. Broadberry, Stephen & Gupta, Bishnupriya, 2010. "The historical roots of India's service-led development: A sectoral analysis of Anglo-Indian productivity differences, 1870-2000," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 264-278, July.
    6. James Kai-Sing Kung & Nansheng Bai & Yiu-Fai Lee, 2011. "Human capital, migration, and a ‘vent’ for surplus rural labour in 1930s China: the case of the Lower Yangzi," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 64, pages 117-141, February.
    7. repec:eee:rujoec:v:3:y:2017:i:4:p:336-347 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Broadberry, Stephen & Ghosal, Sayantan & Proto, Eugenio, 2017. "Anonymity, efficiency wages and technological progress," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 379-394.
    9. repec:rnp:ecopol:ep1702 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Nicholas Crafts, 2014. "Industrialization: Why Britain Got There First," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 214, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).

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