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Real wages and the family: Adjusting real wages to changing demography in pre-modern England

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  • Schneider, Eric B.

Abstract

This paper uses demographic data drawn from Wrigley et al.'s (1997) family reconstitutions of 26 English parishes to adjust Allen's (2001) real wages to the changing demography of early modern England. Using parity progression ratios (a fertility measure) and age specific mortality for children and parents, model families are predicted in two reference periods 1650–1700 and 1750–1800. These models yield two levels of interesting results. At the individual family level, we can measure how different families' real wages changed over the family life cycle as additional children were born. At the aggregate level, we can predict thousands of families using Monte Carlo simulation, creating a realistic distribution of median family real wages in the economy. There are two main findings. First, pregnancy and lactation do not create cyclical effects in the family's income. Instead, most families' welfare ratios decline steadily across the family life cycle until children begin to leave the household, increasing the welfare ratios. Second, Allen's real wages understate or match the median of the predicted demography-adjusted distributions.

Suggested Citation

  • Schneider, Eric B., 2013. "Real wages and the family: Adjusting real wages to changing demography in pre-modern England," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 99-115.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:50:y:2013:i:1:p:99-115
    DOI: 10.1016/j.eeh.2012.08.001
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    Cited by:

    1. Schneider, Eric B., 2013. "Real wages and the family: Adjusting real wages to changing demography in pre-modern England," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 99-115.
    2. Eric B. Schneider, 2016. "Health, Gender and the Household: Children’s Growth in the Marcella Street Home, Boston, MA, and the Ashford School, London, UK," Research in Economic History, in: Christopher Hanes & Susan Wolcott (ed.), Research in Economic History, volume 32, pages 277-361, Emerald Publishing Ltd.
    3. Avner Offer, 2013. "Narrow Banking, Real Estate, and Financial Stability in the UK, c.1870-2010," Oxford Economic and Social History Working Papers _116, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    4. Horrell, Sara & Humphries, Jane & Weisdorf, Jacob, 2020. "Life-cycle living standards of intact and disrupted English working families, 1260-1850," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 106986, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    5. Robert C. Allen, 2015. "The high wage economy and the industrial revolution: a restatement," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 68(1), pages 1-22, February.
    6. Andrés Calderón-Fernández & Héctor García-Montero & Enrique Llopis-Agelán, 2017. "New research guidelines for living standards, consumer baskets, and prices in Madrid and Mexico," Working Papers 097, "Carlo F. Dondena" Centre for Research on Social Dynamics (DONDENA), Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi.
    7. Pujadas-Mora, Joana-Maria & Brea-Martinez, Gabriel, 2020. "The increasing influence of siblings in social mobility. A long-term historical view (Barcelona area, 16th-19th centuries)," SocArXiv sf6vj, Center for Open Science.
    8. 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.
    9. Aled Davies, 2012. "The Evolution of British Monetarism: 1968-1979," Oxford Economic and Social History Working Papers _104, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    10. Corinne Boter, 2020. "Living standards and the life cycle: reconstructing household income and consumption in the early twentieth‐century Netherlands," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 73(4), pages 1050-1073, November.
    11. Julio Martínez-Galarraga & Marc Prat, 2014. "Wages and prices in early Catalan industrialisation," UB Economics Working Papers 2014/305, Universitat de Barcelona, Facultat d'Economia i Empresa, UB School of Economics.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Real wages; Family size; Inequality; Income distribution; Demographic history; Great Divergence;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C15 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Statistical Simulation Methods: General
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913

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