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The growth of aggregate wage earnings in Germany, 1810-1989


  • Jean-Luc Demeulemeester
  • Claude Diebolt
  • Magali Jaoul-Grammare


Aggregate wage earnings are one of the key variables of the German economy. Paradoxically, it is also a little known variable, especially in the long term. Historians have never devoted a synthesis to the subject and, among all the economists who have centred their work on the study of economic growth, Hoffmann (1965) is the only one to have addressed aggregate earnings over a long period. This article follows up his founding work and has two objectives. The first is to measure the movement of wages and wage earners over a long period and use this to make an original estimate of aggregate employment earnings in Germany from 1810 to 1989. Reconstituted sets of statistics are also used to put forward new hypotheses concerning the way is which wages, wage earners and aggregate employment earnings in Germany are linked to the socioeconomic development of the country in the 19th and 20th centuries. It is also sought to detect the temporary and permanent shocks that have affected the German economy since the beginning of the 19th century. Our reflection is in two parts. The first defines the concept of wages, sets out the spatial scope and describes the methodological constraints. The second describes our cliometric results.

Suggested Citation

  • Jean-Luc Demeulemeester & Claude Diebolt & Magali Jaoul-Grammare, 2011. "The growth of aggregate wage earnings in Germany, 1810-1989," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(21), pages 2657-2669.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:43:y:2011:i:21:p:2657-2669
    DOI: 10.1080/00036840903299813

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    Cited by:

    1. Bengtsson, Erik & Waldenström, Daniel, 2015. "Capital Shares and Income inequality: Evidence from the Long Run," IZA Discussion Papers 9581, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Erik Bengtsson & Daniel Waldenstršm, 2016. "Capital shares and income inequality: Evidence from the long run," Working Papers 0092, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    3. Bengtsson, Erik & Waldenström, Daniel, 2015. "Capital shares and income inequality: Evidence from the long run," CEPR Discussion Papers 11022, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

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