Wages and Prices during the Antebellum Period: A Survey and New Evidence
In: American Economic Growth and Standards of Living before the Civil War
The purpose of this paper is to survey recent research on wages and prices in the united States before the civil War. The basic conclusion is that, while much progress has been made in documenting regional, temporal and occupational differentials, further insights will require a large amount of new evidence, particularly on retail prices. The paper also uses existing regional data on wholesale prices to construct new regional indices of real wages for artisans and unskilled labor from 1821 to 1856. The new indices suggest that real wage growth was less than previously thought in the 1930s and that growth was, by comparison with later periods in American history, very erratic in the short-run. The erratic nature of real wage growth was a consequence of persistent effects of price and real shocks.
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- Peter H. Lindert & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 1983. "English Workers’Living Standards During the Industrial Revolution: A New Look," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 36(1), pages 1-25, 02.
- John A. James & Jonathan S. Skinner, 1984.
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NBER Working Papers
1504, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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- Williamson, Jeffrey G., 1974. "Watersheds and Turning Points: Conjectures on the Long-Term Impact of Civil War Financing," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 34(03), pages 636-661, September.
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