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Growth or stagnation in pre-industrial Britain? A revealed income growth approach

Author

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  • Groth, Christian

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

  • Persson, Karl Gunnar

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

Abstract

The extent of growth in pre-industrial Europe in general and in Britain in particular has attracted intense scholarly focus. Growth or Malthusian stagnation? No consensus has evolved. Reconstructions of national income from 1300 and up to the Industrial Revolution come to opposing conclusions and so do econometric studies. Applying Engels’ law, we suggest a new approach in which income growth is revealed by changes in occupational structure. Data needed for this approach are less contested than the wage and output series used in the existing literature. We find that pre-industrial Britain exhibited secular rise in the standard of living.

Suggested Citation

  • Groth, Christian & Persson, Karl Gunnar, 2016. "Growth or stagnation in pre-industrial Britain? A revealed income growth approach," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 264, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  • Handle: RePEc:cge:wacage:264
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    File URL: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/research/centres/cage/manage/publications/264-2016_persson.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. de Vries, Jan, 1994. "The Industrial Revolution and the Industrious Revolution," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 54(02), pages 249-270, June.
    2. Paul Sharp, 2006. "1846 and All That: The Rise and Fall of British Wheat Protection in the Nineteenth Century," Discussion Papers 06-14, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    3. Dyer, Christopher, 2012. "A Country Merchant, 1495-1520: Trading and Farming at the End of the Middle Ages," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199214242.
    4. Galor, Oded, 2005. "From Stagnation to Growth: Unified Growth Theory," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 4, pages 171-293 Elsevier.
    5. Allen, Robert C., 2000. "Economic structure and agricultural productivity in Europe, 1300 1800," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 4(01), pages 1-25, April.
    6. Crafts, Nicholas & Mills, Terence C., 2009. "From Malthus to Solow: How did the Malthusian economy really evolve?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 68-93, March.
    7. Nicolini, Esteban A., 2007. "Was Malthus right? A VAR analysis of economic and demographic interactions in pre-industrial England," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(01), pages 99-121, April.
    8. Niels Møller & Paul Sharp, 2014. "Malthus in cointegration space: evidence of a post-Malthusian pre-industrial England," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 105-140, March.
    9. Lant Pritchett, 1997. "Divergence, Big Time," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 3-17, Summer.
    10. Gregory Clark, 2007. "Introduction to A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World," Introductory Chapters,in: A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World Princeton University Press.
    11. Clark, Gregory & Cummins, Joseph & Smith, Brock, 2012. "Malthus, Wages, and Preindustrial Growth," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 72(02), pages 364-392, June.
    12. Kelly, Morgan & Ó Gráda, Cormac, 2013. "Numerare Est Errare: Agricultural Output and Food Supply in England Before and During the Industrial Revolution," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 73(04), pages 1132-1163, December.
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    1. repec:bla:ehsrev:v:71:y:2018:i:2:p:639-664 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:oup:ereveh:v:21:y:2017:i:1:p:133-139. is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:taf:sehrxx:v:64:y:2016:i:3:p:299-301 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Malthusian stagnation; Engel’s law; Revealed income growth; Pre-industrial productivity growth; Structural change. JEL Classification: E24; N13; O11; O41; O47;

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • N13 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence

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