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

  • Gregory Clark

    (Department of Economics, University of California Davis)

The paper uses building workers’ wages 1209-2004, 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 1640 actually was the break from the technological stagnation of the Malthusian era, long before the classic Industrial Revolution and even the arrival of modern democracy in 1689. Building wages also conflict with human capital interpretations of the Industrial Revolution, as modeled by Becker et al. (1990), Galor and Weil (2000) and Lucas (2002). Human capital accumulation began when the rewards for skills were unchanged, and when fertility was increasing.

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Paper provided by University of California, Davis, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 539.

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Length: 56
Date of creation: 01 Sep 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cda:wpaper:05-39
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  1. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2000. "Natural Selection and the Origin of economic Growth," Working Papers 2000-18, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  2. Galor, Oded & Weil, David, 1995. "The Gender Gap, Fertility and Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 1157, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Was an Industrial Revolution Inevitable? Economic Growth Over the Very Long Run," NBER Working Papers 7375, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Horrell, Sara, 1996. "Home Demand and British Industrialization," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 56(03), pages 561-604, September.
  5. Lindert, Peter H. & Williamson, Jeffrey G., 1985. "English Workers' Real Wages: Reply to Crafts," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 45(01), pages 145-153, March.
  6. North, Douglass C. & Weingast, Barry R., 1989. "Constitutions and Commitment: The Evolution of Institutions Governing Public Choice in Seventeenth-Century England," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(04), pages 803-832, December.
  7. Frank Geary & Tom Stark, 2004. "Trends in real wages during the industrial revolution: a view from across the Irish Sea," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 57(2), pages 362-395, 05.
  8. Ricardo, David, 1821. "On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, edition 3, number ricardo1821.
  9. Schofield, R. S., 1973. "Dimensions of illiteracy, 1750-1850," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 437-454.
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