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

  • Schneider, Eric B.

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.

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

Volume (Year): 50 (2013)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 99-115

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Handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:50:y:2013:i:1:p:99-115
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622830

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  1. Jane Humphries, 2011. "The Lure of Aggregates and the Pitfalls of the Patriarchal Perspective: A Critique of the High Wage Economy Interpretation of the British Industrial Revolution," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _091, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  2. Eric B. Schneider, 2011. "Evaluating the Effectiveness of Yield-Raising Strategies in Medieval England: An Econometric Approach," Economics Series Working Papers Number 90, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  3. Rui P. Esteves, 2011. "The Political Economy of Global Financial Liberalisation in Historical Perspective," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _089, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  4. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521847568 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Robert C. Allen & Jean-Pascal Bassino & Debin Ma & Christine Moll-Murata & Jan Luiten van Zanden, 2011. "Wages, prices, and living standards in China, 1738-1925: in comparison with Europe, Japan, and India," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 32403, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  6. de Bromhead, Alan & Eichengreen, Barry & O'Rourke, Kevin Hjortshøj, 2012. "Right Wing Political Extremism in the Great Depression," CEPR Discussion Papers 8876, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Kevin Hjortshøj O'Rourke & Douglas A. Irwin, 2011. "Coping with Shocks and Shifts: The Multilateral Trading System in Historical Perspective," Economics Series Working Papers Number 92, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  8. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521687850 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Eric Schneider, 2012. "Prices and Production: Agricultural Supply Response in Fourteenth-Century England," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _097, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  10. Robert C. Allen & Jacob Louis Weisdorf, 2010. "Was there an ‘Industrious Revolution’ before the Industrial Revolution? An Empirical Exercise for England, c. 1300-1830," Discussion Papers 10-14, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  11. Emanuele Felice, 2011. "The determinants of Italy’s regional imbalances over the long run: exploring the contributions of human and social capital," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _088, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  12. Florian Ploeckl, 2010. "The Zollverein and the Formation of a Customs Union," Economics Series Working Papers Number 84, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  13. Horrell, Sara & Meredith, David & Oxley, Deborah, 2009. "Measuring misery: Body mass, ageing and gender inequality in Victorian London," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 93-119, January.
  14. Horrell, Sara & Humphries, Jane & Voth, Hans-Joachim, 2001. "Destined for Deprivation: Human Capital Formation and Intergenerational Poverty in Nineteenth-Century England," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 339-365, July.
  15. Simon C. Holmes & Florian Ploeckl, 2012. "Bank on Steel? Joint-stocks and the Rationalisation of the British Interwar Steel Industry," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _093, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  16. Eric Schneider, 2012. "Real Wages and the Family: Adjusting Real Wages to Changing Demography in Pre-Modern England," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _099, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  17. Robert W. Fogel & Nathaniel Grotte, 2011. "An Overview of The Changing Body: Health, Nutrition, and Human Development in the Western World Since 1700," NBER Working Papers 16938, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Florian Ploeckl & Simon C. Holmes, 2012. "Bank on Steel? Joint-Stock Banks and the Rationalisation of the British Interwar Steel Industry," Economics Series Working Papers Number 93, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  19. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521868273 is not listed on IDEAS
  20. Jane Humphries, 2011. "The Lure of Aggregates and the Pitfalls of the Patriarchal Perspective: A Critique of the High Wage Economy Interpretation of the British Industrial Revolution," Economics Series Working Papers Paper 91, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  21. S. Ryan Johansson, 2010. "Medics, Monarchs and Mortality, 1600-1800: Origins of the Knowledge-Driven Health Transition in Europe," Economics Series Working Papers Number85, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  22. Allen, Robert C., 2001. "The Great Divergence in European Wages and Prices from the Middle Ages to the First World War," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 411-447, October.
  23. Roderick Floud & Robert W. Fogel & Bernard Harris & Sok Chul Hong, 2011. "The Changing Body: Health, Nutrition, and Human Development in the Western World since 1700," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number foge10-1, December.
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