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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. Persson,Karl Gunnar & Sharp,Paul, 2015. "An Economic History of Europe," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107095564, June.
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    4. 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.
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    6. Allen, Robert C., 2000. "Economic structure and agricultural productivity in Europe, 1300–1800," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 4(1), pages 1-25, April.
    7. 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.
    8. Lant Pritchett, 1997. "Divergence, Big Time," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 3-17, Summer.
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    10. Clark, Gregory & Cummins, Joseph & Smith, Brock, 2012. "Malthus, Wages, and Preindustrial Growth," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 72(2), pages 364-392, May.
    11. 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(1), pages 99-121, April.
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    13. 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(4), pages 1132-1163, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Giovanni Federico & Paul Sharp, 2017. "Karl Gunnar Persson (1943–2016)," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(1), pages 133-139.
    2. Stephen Broadberry & Bruce M. S. Campbell & Alexander Klein & Mark Overton & Bas van Leeuwen, 2018. "Clark's Malthus delusion: response to ‘Farming in England 1200–1800’," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 71(2), pages 639-664, May.

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    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;
    All these keywords.

    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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