IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/cpr/ceprdp/11999.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Unreal Wages? Real Income and Economic Growth in England, 1260-1850

Author

Listed:
  • Humphries, Jane
  • Weisdorf, Jacob

Abstract

Existing accounts of workers' earnings in the past suffer from the fundamental problem that annual incomes are inferred from day wages without knowing the length of the working year. We circumvent this problem by presenting a novel income series for male workers employed on annual contracts. We use evidence of labour market arbitrage to argue that existing estimates of annual incomes in England are badly off target, because they overestimate the medieval working year but underestimate the working year during the industrial revolution. Our revised income estimates suggests that modern economic growth began more than two centuries earlier than commonly thought and was driven by an early and continuing "Industrious Revolution".

Suggested Citation

  • Humphries, Jane & Weisdorf, Jacob, 2017. "Unreal Wages? Real Income and Economic Growth in England, 1260-1850," CEPR Discussion Papers 11999, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:11999
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=11999
    Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at subscribers@cepr.org

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Gregory Clark, 2005. "The Condition of the Working Class in England, 1209-2004," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(6), pages 1307-1340, December.
    2. Allen, Robert C. & Murphy, Tommy E. & Schneider, Eric B., 2012. "The Colonial Origins of the Divergence in the Americas: A Labor Market Approach," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 72(04), pages 863-894, December.
    3. 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.
    4. Persson, Karl Gunnar, 2008. "The Malthus delusion," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(02), pages 165-173, August.
    5. Allen, Robert C., 2011. "Global Economic History: A Very Short Introduction," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199596652.
    6. Humphries,Jane, 2010. "Childhood and Child Labour in the British Industrial Revolution," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521847568, October.
    7. Voth, Hans-Joachim, 2001. "The Longest Years: New Estimates Of Labor Input In England, 1760 1830," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 61(04), pages 1065-1082, December.
    8. Douglas Gollin, 2002. "Getting Income Shares Right," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(2), pages 458-474, April.
    9. Frankema, Ewout & Waijenburg, Marlous Van, 2012. "Structural Impediments to African Growth? New Evidence from Real Wages in British Africa, 1880–1965," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 72(04), pages 895-926, December.
    10. Oded Galor, 2011. "Unified Growth Theory and Comparative Development," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, issue 2, pages 9-21, April-Jun.
    11. Allen, Robert C., 2001. "The Great Divergence in European Wages and Prices from the Middle Ages to the First World War," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 411-447, October.
    12. R. C. Allen & J. L. Weisdorf, 2011. "Was there an ‘industrious revolution’ before the industrial revolution? An empirical exercise for England, c. 1300–1830," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 64(3), pages 715-729, August.
    13. Oded Galor, 2011. "Unified Growth Theory," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 9477.
    14. Simon A.C. Penn & Christopher Dyer, 1990. "Wages and earnings in late medieval England: evidence from the enforcement of the labour laws," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 43(3), pages 356-376, August.
    15. David N. Weil & Oded Galor, 2000. "Population, Technology, and Growth: From Malthusian Stagnation to the Demographic Transition and Beyond," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 806-828, September.
    16. Gregory Clark, 2007. "The long march of history: Farm wages, population, and economic growth, England 1209-1869 -super-1," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 60(1), pages 97-135, February.
    17. Alessandro Nuvolari & Mattia Ricci, 2013. "Economic Growth in England, 1250-1850: Some New Estimates Using a Demand Side Approach," Rivista di storia economica, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 1, pages 31-54.
    18. Dyer,Christopher, 1989. "Standards of Living in the Later Middle Ages," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521272155, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Nuno Palma & Jaime Reis, 2018. "From Convergence to Divergence: Portuguese Economic Growth, 1527-1850," The School of Economics Discussion Paper Series 1811, Economics, The University of Manchester.
    2. Nuno Palma & Jaime Reis, 2018. "From Convergence to Divergence: Portuguese Economic Growth, 1527-1850," Working Papers 0137, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    England; Industrial Revolution; Industrious Revolution; Labour Supply; Living standards; Malthusian Model; Real Wages;

    JEL classification:

    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • J4 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets
    • J5 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining
    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers
    • J7 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination
    • J8 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:11999. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.