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The Condition of the Working Class in England, 1209-2004

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  • Gregory Clark

Abstract

I use building workers' wages for 12092004 and the skill premium to consider the causes and consequences of the Industrial Revolution. Real wages were trendless before 1800, as would be predicted for the Malthusian era. Comparing wages with population, however, suggests that the break from the technological stagnation of the Malthusian era came around 1640, long before the classic Industrial Revolution, and even before the arrival of modern democracy in 1689. Building wages also conflict with human capital interpretations of the Industrial Revolution, as modeled by Gary Becker, Kevin Murphy, and Robert Tamura; Oded Galor and David Weil; and Robert Lucas. Human capital accumulation began when the rewards for skills were unchanged and when fertility was increasing.

Suggested Citation

  • Gregory Clark, 2005. "The Condition of the Working Class in England, 1209-2004," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(6), pages 1307-1340, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:113:y:2005:i:6:p:1307-1340
    DOI: 10.1086/498123
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • N10 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • N50 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

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