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Institutions, Wages and Inequality : The Case of Europe and its Periphery (1500-1899)

  • Davin Chor

    (SMU)

This paper explores the long-run relationship between institutions and wage outcomes in Europe and its periphery. I find that cities that exercised stronger institutional protection of private property experienced : (i) higher levels of both skilled and unskilled real wages, as well as (ii) lower levels of inequality as measured by the skilled-unskilled wage ratio. While the first result corroborates existing work on the positive growth effects of better institutions, the second finding is more novel to the literature. Some explanations are proposed for how stronger institutions can cause an increase in the relative supply of skilled workers, thus lowering wage inequality.

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File URL: http://www.eaber.org/node/22065
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Paper provided by East Asian Bureau of Economic Research in its series Microeconomics Working Papers with number 22065.

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Date of creation: Jan 2005
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Handle: RePEc:eab:microe:22065
Contact details of provider: Postal: JG Crawford Building #13, Asia Pacific School of Economics and Government, Australian National University, ACT 0200
Web page: http://www.eaber.org

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  1. Kevin H. O'Rourke & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2002. "From Malthus to Ohlin: Trade, Growth and Distribution Since 1500," Trinity Economics Papers 20025, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
  2. Alesina, Alberto F & Rodrik, Dani, 1991. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 565, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275, February.
  4. Edward L. Glaeser & Andrei Shleifer, 2002. "The Injustice of Inequality," NBER Working Papers 9150, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. 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.
  6. Stephen Knack & Philip Keefer, 1995. "Institutions And Economic Performance: Cross-Country Tests Using Alternative Institutional Measures," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(3), pages 207-227, November.
  7. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James Robinson, 2005. "The Rise of Europe: Atlantic Trade, Institutional Change, and Economic Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 546-579, June.
  8. van Zanden, Jan L., 1999. "Wages and the standard of living in Europe, 1500 1800," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(02), pages 175-197, August.
  9. De Long, J. Bradford & Shleifer, Andrei, 1993. "Princes and Merchants: European City Growth before the Industrial Revolution," Scholarly Articles 3451302, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  10. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2000. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 7771, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Williamson Jeffrey G., 1995. "The Evolution of Global Labor Markets since 1830: Background Evidence and Hypotheses," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 141-196, April.
  12. Clark, Gregory, 2002. "Land rental values and the agrarian economy: England and Wales, 1500 1914," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(03), pages 281-308, December.
  13. Davin Chor, 2005. "Institutions, Wages and Inequality : The Case of Europe and its Periphery (1500-1899)," Microeconomics Working Papers 22065, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  14. Banerjee, Abhijit V & Duflo, Esther, 2003. " Inequality and Growth: What Can the Data Say?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 267-99, September.
  15. Harris, John R & Todaro, Michael P, 1970. "Migration, Unemployment & Development: A Two-Sector Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(1), pages 126-42, March.
  16. Kristin J. Forbes, 2000. "A Reassessment of the Relationship between Inequality and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 869-887, September.
  17. Stanley L Engerman & Kenneth L. Sokoloff, 2002. "Factor Endowments, Inequality, and Paths of Development Among New World Economics," NBER Working Papers 9259, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. zmucur, S leyman & Pamuk, Sevket, 2002. "Real Wages And Standards Of Living In The Ottoman Empire, 1489 1914," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 62(02), pages 293-321, June.
  19. Edward L. Glaeser & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silane & Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "Do Institutions Cause Growth?," NBER Working Papers 10568, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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