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Some dimensions of the 'quality of life' during the British industrial revolution

  • Nicholas Crafts

The paper sets out estimates for various aspects of well-being during British industrialisation. Judgements about changes in living standards are shown to be sensitive to weighting procedures. It is argued that recent participants in the famous standards of living controversy have assigned undue importance to trends in heights and that concern for quality of life rather than real wages need not imply a pessimistic view of changes in aggregate well-being during the industrial revolution. Urban mortality experience is shown to be the least satisfactory aspect of well-being and it is suggested that this reflects difficulties of financing local public goods.

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Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History in its series Economic History Working Papers with number 20349.

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Length: 57 pages
Date of creation: Mar 1997
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ehl:wpaper:20349
Contact details of provider: Postal: LSE, Dept. of Economic History Houghton Street London, WC2A 2AE, U.K.
Phone: +44 (0) 20 7955 7084
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  1. Dasgupta, Partha & Weale, Martin, 1992. "On measuring the quality of life," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 119-131, January.
  2. Feinstein, Charles, 1988. "The Rise and Fall of the Williamson Curve," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 48(03), pages 699-729, September.
  3. N. F. R. Crafts & C. K. Harley, 1992. "Output growth and the British industrial revolution: a restatement of the Crafts-Harley view," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 45(4), pages 703-730, November.
  4. Richard H. Steckel, 1991. "Stature and Living Standards in the United States," NBER Historical Working Papers 0024, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Roderick Floud & Bernard Harris, 1997. "Health, Height, and Welfare: Britain, 1700-1980," NBER Chapters, in: Health and Welfare during Industrialization, pages 91-126 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Hans-Joachim Voth & Tim Leunig, 1996. "Did smallpox reduce height?: stature and the standard of living in London, 1770-1873," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 497, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  7. Richard H. Steckel & Roderick Floud, 1997. "Health and Welfare during Industrialization," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number stec97-1, December.
  8. Richard H. Steckel, 1995. "Stature and the Standard of Living," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(4), pages 1903-1940, December.
  9. John Komlos, 1993. "The secular trend in the biological standard of living in the United Kingdom, 1730-1860," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 46(1), pages 115-144, 02.
  10. Qizilbash, M., 1996. "Pluralism and well-being indices," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 9636, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
  11. Horrell, Sara & Humphries, Jane, 1992. "Old Questions, New Data, and Alternative Perspectives: Families' Living Standards in the Industrial Revolution," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 52(04), pages 849-880, December.
  12. Sudhir Anand & Martin Ravallion, 1993. "Human Development in Poor Countries: On the Role of Private Incomes and Public Services," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(1), pages 133-150, Winter.
  13. Williamson, Jeffrey G., 1990. "The impact of the Corn Laws just prior to repeal," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 123-156, April.
  14. Sen, Amartya, 1979. "The Welfare Basis of Real Income Comparisons: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 17(1), pages 1-45, March.
  15. Roderick Floud, 1984. "The Heights of Europeans Since 1750: A New Source For European Economic History," NBER Working Papers 1318, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. R. V. Jackson, 1994. "Inequality of incomes and lifespans in England since 1688," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 47(3), pages 508-524, 08.
  17. David F. Mitch, 1986. "The Impact of Subsidies to Elementary Schooling on Enrolment Rates in Nineteenth-century England," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 39(3), pages 371-391, 08.
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