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1381 and the Malthus delusion

  • Clark, Gregory

What were income trends before the Industrial Revolution? Clark (2007b) argued both theoretically and empirically that pre-industrial income fluctuated, but was not trending upwards, a position Persson (2008) labeled “the Malthus Delusion.” Clark (2010a), in particular, estimated that pre-industrial English income was as high on average as in 1800. In contrast, Broadberry et al. (2011) estimate that income tripled between 1270 and 1800. One test of early income estimates is the share employed in farming. This paper, focusing on the poll tax returns of 1379–1381, shows that only 56–59% of the English population was in farming or fishing. This small share implies incomes in 1381 equivalent to those of 1800.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Explorations in Economic History.

Volume (Year): 50 (2013)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 4-15

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Handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:50:y:2013:i:1:p:4-15
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622830

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  1. 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, vol. 50(1), pages 16-27.
  2. Clark, Gregory & Cummins, Joseph & Smith, Brock, 2012. "Malthus, Wages, and Preindustrial Growth," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 72(02), pages 364-392, June.
  3. Jan Luiten Van Zanden, 2002. "The ‘revolt of the early modernists’ and the ‘first modern economy’: an assessment," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 55(4), pages 619-641, November.
  4. Persson, Karl Gunnar, 2008. "The Malthus delusion," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(02), pages 165-173, August.
  5. Rodney Edvinsson & Johan Söderberg, 2011. "A Consumer Price Index For Sweden, 1290–2008," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 57(2), pages 270-292, 06.
  6. Gregory Clark, 2009. "The Macroeconomic Aggregates for England, 1209-2008," Working Papers 919, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  7. Gregory Clark & Joe Cummins & Brock Smith, 2010. "The Surprising Wealth of Pre-industrial England," Working Papers 1014, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  8. Broadberry, Stephen; Campbell, Bruce; Klein, Alexander; Overton, Mark; Van Leeuwen, Bas., 2010. "English Economic Growth: 1270 - 1870," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 35, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  9. Clark, Gregory, 2010. "The Consumer Revolution: Turning Point in Human History, or Statistical Artifact?," MPRA Paper 25467, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  10. 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.
  11. Gregory Clark & Michael Huberman & Peter H. Lindert, 1995. "A British food puzzle, 1770–1850," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 48(2), pages 215-237, 05.
  12. Gregory Clark, 2007. "Introduction to A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World
    [A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World]
    ," Introductory Chapters, Princeton University Press.
  13. Maddison, Angus, 2007. "Contours of the World Economy 1-2030 AD: Essays in Macro-Economic History," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199227204, March.
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