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The Surprising Wealth of Pre-industrial England

Author

Listed:
  • Gregory Clark
  • Joe Cummins
  • Brock Smith

    (Department of Economics, University of California Davis)

Abstract

Occupations listed in wills reveal that as early as 1560 effectively only 60% of the English engaged in farming. Even by 1817, well into the Industrial Revolution, the equivalent primary share, once we count in food and raw material imports, was still 52%. By implication, incomes in pre-industrial England were close to those of 1800. Urbanization rates are not a good guide to pre-industrial income levels. Many rural workers were engaged in manufacturing, services and trade. The occupation shares also imply pre-industrial England was rich enough in 1560 to rank above the bottom fifth of countries in 2007.

Suggested Citation

  • Gregory Clark & Joe Cummins & Brock Smith, 2010. "The Surprising Wealth of Pre-industrial England," Working Papers 1014, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:cda:wpaper:10-14
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    File URL: http://wp.econ.ucdavis.edu/10-14.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Clark, Gregory, 2010. "The Consumer Revolution: Turning Point in Human History, or Statistical Artifact?," MPRA Paper 25467, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Robert C. Allen, 2008. "A Review of Gregory Clark's A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(4), pages 946-973, December.
    3. Broadberry,Stephen & Campbell,Bruce M. S. & Klein,Alexander & Overton,Mark & van Leeuwen,Bas, 2015. "British Economic Growth, 1270–1870," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107070783, May.
    4. Maddison, Angus, 2007. "Contours of the World Economy 1-2030 AD: Essays in Macro-Economic History," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199227204.
    5. Lindert, Peter H., 1980. "English Occupations, 1670–1811," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 40(04), pages 685-712, December.
    6. E. A. Wrigley, 2007. "English county populations in the later eighteenth century -super-1," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 60(1), pages 35-69, February.
    7. Gregory Clark & Michael Huberman & Peter H. Lindert, 1995. "A British food puzzle, 1770–1850," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 48(2), pages 215-237, May.
    8. Gregory Clark, 2009. "The Macroeconomic Aggregates for England, 1209-2008," Working Papers 919, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
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    Cited by:

    1. Clark, Gregory, 2013. "1381 and the Malthus delusion," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 4-15.
    2. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Growth; England; Pre-industrial;

    JEL classification:

    • N13 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
    • O52 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Europe

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