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Italy and the Little Divergence in Wages and Prices: New Data, New Results

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  • Rota, Mauro
  • Weisdorf, Jacob

Abstract

We present new wage indices for skilled and unskilled construction workers in Italy. Our data avoid multiple issues pestering earlier wages, making our new indices the first consistent ones for early-modern Italy. Our improved wages, obtained from the St. Peter’s Church in Rome, consolidate the view that urban Italy began a prolonged downturn during the seventeenth century. They also offer sustenance to the idea that epidemics instigated the decline. Comparison with new construction wages for London shows that Roman workers outearned their early-modern English counterparts. This suggests that high wages alone were not enough to trigger industrialization.

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  • Rota, Mauro & Weisdorf, Jacob, 2020. "Italy and the Little Divergence in Wages and Prices: New Data, New Results," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 80(4), pages 931-960, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:80:y:2020:i:4:p:931-960_1
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    Cited by:

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    2. Humphries, Jane, 2023. "Respectable standards of living: the alternative lens of maintenance costs, Britain 1270-1860," Economic History Working Papers 119284, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
    3. Claridge, Jordan & Delabastita, Vincent & Gibbs, Spike, 2023. "Wages and labour relations in the Middle Ages: it's not (all) about the money," Economic History Working Papers 120307, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
    4. Guido Alfani, 2022. "Epidemics, Inequality, and Poverty in Preindustrial and Early Industrial Times," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 60(1), pages 3-40, March.
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    6. David Chilosi & Carlo Ciccarelli, 2023. "Italy in the Great Divergence: What Can We Learn from Engel’s Law?," CEIS Research Paper 562, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 18 Jul 2023.
    7. Benjamin Schneider, 2022. "Good Jobs and Bad Jobs in History," Oxford Economic and Social History Working Papers _202, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    8. Kumon, Yuzuru & Sakai, Kazuho, 2022. "Women's Wages and Empowerment : Pre-industrial Japan, 1600-1890," CEI Working Paper Series 2022-05, Center for Economic Institutions, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    9. David de la Croix & Pauline Morault, 2020. "Winners and Losers from the Protestant Reformation: An Analysis of the Network of European Universities," LIDAM Discussion Papers IRES 2020029, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    10. Peter Sandholt Jensen & Cristina Victoria Radu & Paul Sharp, 2022. "To the manor born: a new microlevel wage database for eighteenth-century Denmark [Trends in real wages in Denmark since the late Middle Ages]," European Review of Economic History, European Historical Economics Society, vol. 26(2), pages 302-310.
    11. Alfani, Guido, 2023. "Inequality in History: A Long-Run View," SocArXiv 94dgs, Center for Open Science.
    12. Kumon, Yuzuru, 2022. "How Landownership Equality Created a Low Wage Society: Pre-industrial Japan, 1600-1870," IAST Working Papers 22-138, Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse (IAST).
    13. Sara Horrell, 2023. "Household consumption patterns and the consumer price index, England, 1260–1869," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 76(4), pages 1023-1050, November.
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    16. Sara Horrell & Jane Humphries & Jacob Weisdorf, 2019. "Working for a Living? Women and Children’s Labour Inputs in England, 1260-1850," Oxford Economic and Social History Working Papers _172, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    17. Chilosi, David & Ciccarelli, Carlo, 2023. "Italy in the great divergence: what can we learn from Engel’s law?," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 667, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    18. David Chilosi & Carlo Ciccarelli, 2021. "Southern and Northern Italy in the Great Divergence: New Perspectives from the Occupational Structure," Quaderni di storia economica (Economic History Working Papers) 47, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    19. Weisdorf, Jacob & Rota, Mauro, 2020. "Italy and the Industrial Revolution: Evidence from Stable Employment in Rural Areas," CEPR Discussion Papers 14652, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    20. Kumon, Yuzuru & Sakai, Kazuho, 2022. "Women’s Wages and Empowerment: Pre-industrial Japan, 1600-1890," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 18/2022, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • J4 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets
    • J8 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards
    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913

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