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Economic growth in the Mid-Atlantic region: Conjectural estimates for 1720 to 1800

  • Rosenbloom, Joshua L.
  • Weiss, Thomas

We construct decadal estimates of GDP per capita for the colonies and states of the Mid-Atlantic region between 1720 and 1800. They show that the region likely achieved modest improvements in per capita GDP over this period despite a number of demographic factors that tended to slow the pace of growth. Nonetheless the rate of growth we find is below that commonly assumed to have prevailed in eighteenth century North America and calls those estimates into question. The striking feature of the region's economy in the eighteenth century was not the rising living-standard, but its ability to achieve rapid extensive growth without a decline in living standards. To contemporaries this extensive growth and short-term volatility in incomes must have been much more visible than any trend improvement in overall well-being.

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

Volume (Year): 51 (2014)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 41-59

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Handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:51:y:2014:i:c:p:41-59
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622830

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  2. Shepherd, James F. & Williamson, Samuel H., 1972. "The Coastal Trade of the British North American Colonies, 1768–1772," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 32(04), pages 783-810, December.
  3. Grubb, Farley, 2004. "The circulating medium of exchange in colonial Pennsylvania, 1729-1775: new estimates of monetary composition, performance, and economic growth," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 41(4), pages 329-360, October.
  4. Mancall, Peter C. & Weiss, Thomas, 1999. "Was Ecomomic Growth Likely in Colonial British North America?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 59(01), pages 17-40, March.
  5. Clark, Gregory, 2010. "1381 and the Malthus Delusion," MPRA Paper 25466, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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  7. 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.
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  9. Gregory Clark, 2005. "The Condition of the Working-Class in England, 1209-2004," Working Papers 539, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
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  13. Allen, Robert C. & Murphy, Tommy E. & Schneider, Eric B., 2012. "The Colonial Origins of the Divergence in the Americas: A Labor Market Approach," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 72(04), pages 863-894, December.
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