IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/fiu/wpaper/1508.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Property Rights and The First Great Divergence: Europe 1500-1800

Author

Listed:
  • Cem Karayalcin

    (Department of Economics, Florida International University)

Abstract

Recent literature on developing countries has revived interest in structural change involving the reallocation of resources from agriculture to industry. Here, we focus on the first such historically important structural transformation in which some parts of Europe escaped from the Malthusian trap centuries earlier than the Industrial Revolution, while others stagnated. There is as yet no consensus as to the causes of this First Great Divergence. The paper advances the thesis that what lies at the root of different paths is the type of property rights inherited. As populations everywhere in Europe recovered from the catastrophes of the late medieval period, what mattered for the direction taken was the size of the landlord class and their landholdings. In western Europe where peasant proprietors tilled small plots, increases in population levels led to lower real wages. Given the low incomes of landlords and peasants, demand for manufactured goods remained low. At the other extreme, in eastern Europe, second serfdom kept wages low, and rents high. Yet given the small size of the land-owning class, these rents could not generate enough demand for high-end manufacturing processes either. Northwestern Europe, being in the middle in terms both of the size of the landholding classes and their properties, prospered as wages failed to decline even when population levels rapidly rose. Combined demand from landlords and workers kindled an expansion of the manufacturing sector.

Suggested Citation

  • Cem Karayalcin, 2015. "Property Rights and The First Great Divergence: Europe 1500-1800," Working Papers 1508, Florida International University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:fiu:wpaper:1508
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://economics.fiu.edu/research/working-papers/2015/1508/1508.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2015
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Tasso Adamopoulos & Diego Restuccia, 2014. "The Size Distribution of Farms and International Productivity Differences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(6), pages 1667-1697, June.
    2. Berthold Herrendorf & Christopher Herrington & Ákos Valentinyi, 2015. "Sectoral Technology and Structural Transformation," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(4), pages 104-133, October.
    3. 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.
    4. Kiminori Matsuyama, 2002. "The Rise of Mass Consumption Societies," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(5), pages 1035-1070, October.
    5. 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.
    6. Robert C. Allen, 2008. "A Review of Gregory Clark's A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(4), pages 946-973, December.
    7. Wim F.V. Vanthoor, 1996. "European Monetary Union Since 1848," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 1136, September.
    8. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2004. "From Physical to Human Capital Accumulation: Inequality and the Process of Development," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(4), pages 1001-1026.
    9. Reto Foellmi & Josef Zweimuller, 2006. "Income Distribution and Demand-Induced Innovations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(4), pages 941-960.
    10. Margarida Duarte & Diego Restuccia, 2010. "The Role of the Structural Transformation in Aggregate Productivity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(1), pages 129-173.
    11. Williamson, Jeffrey G., 1984. "Why Was British Growth So Slow During the Industrial Revolution?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 44(3), pages 687-712, September.
    12. de Vries, Jan, 1994. "The Industrial Revolution and the Industrious Revolution," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 54(2), pages 249-270, June.
    13. 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.
    14. anonymous, 1956. "Prices during the economic expansion," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Jan, pages 1-7.
    15. L. Rachel Ngai & Christopher A. Pissarides, 2007. "Structural Change in a Multisector Model of Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 429-443, March.
    16. Bilancini Ennio & D'Alessandro Simone, 2008. "Functional Distribution, Land Ownership and Industrial Takeoff: The Role of Effective Demand," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-36, August.
    17. 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.
    18. Carletto, Calogero & Savastano, Sara & Zezza, Alberto, 2013. "Fact or artifact: The impact of measurement errors on the farm size–productivity relationship," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 254-261.
    19. Afonso, António & Jalles, João Tovar, 2013. "Growth and productivity: The role of government debt," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 384-407.
    20. Eastwood, Robert & Lipton, Michael & Newell, Andrew, 2010. "Farm Size," Handbook of Agricultural Economics, in: Robert Evenson & Prabhu Pingali (ed.), Handbook of Agricultural Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 65, pages 3323-3397, Elsevier.
    21. Duplessis,Robert S., 1997. "Transitions to Capitalism in Early Modern Europe," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521394659, September.
    22. J. V. Beckett, 1984. "The Pattern of Landownership in England and Wales, 1660-1880," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 37(1), pages 1-22, February.
    23. Oded Galor & Omer Moav & Dietrich Vollrath, 2009. "Inequality in Landownership, the Emergence of Human-Capital Promoting Institutions, and the Great Divergence," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(1), pages 143-179.
    24. Binswanger, Hans P. & Deininger, Klaus & Feder, Gershon, 1995. "Power, distortions, revolt and reform in agricultural land relations," Handbook of Development Economics, in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 42, pages 2659-2772, Elsevier.
    25. 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.
    26. Berthold Herrendorf & Richard Rogerson & ?kos Valentinyi, 2013. "Two Perspectives on Preferences and Structural Transformation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(7), pages 2752-2789, December.
    27. North, Douglass C. & Weingast, Barry R., 1989. "Constitutions and Commitment: The Evolution of Institutions Governing Public Choice in Seventeenth-Century England," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(4), pages 803-832, December.
    28. Ergungor, O. Emre, 2008. "Financial system structure and economic growth: Structure matters," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 292-305.
    29. Herrendorf, Berthold & Rogerson, Richard & Valentinyi, Ákos, 2014. "Growth and Structural Transformation," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 6, pages 855-941, Elsevier.
    30. Duplessis,Robert S., 1997. "Transitions to Capitalism in Early Modern Europe," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521397735, September.
    31. Vries,Jan de, 2008. "The Industrious Revolution," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521719254, October.
    32. 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.
    33. Millward, Robert, 1982. "An Economic Analysis of the Organization of Serfdom in Eastern Europe," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 42(3), pages 513-548, September.
    34. John Komlos, 1989. "Nutrition and Economic Development in the Eighteenth-Century Habsburg Monarchy: An Anthropometric History," Books by John Komlos, Department of Economics, University of Munich, number 2, September.
    35. Robert C. Allen, 2003. "Progress and poverty in early modern Europe," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 56(3), pages 403-443, August.
    36. Kevin M. Murphy & Andrei Shleifer & Robert Vishny, 1989. "Income Distribution, Market Size, and Industrialization," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(3), pages 537-564.
    37. Berthold Herrendorf & Christopher Herrington & Ákos Valentinyi, 2015. "Sectoral Technology and Structural Transformation," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(4), pages 104-133, October.
    38. Douglas Gollin & Stephen Parente & Richard Rogerson, 2002. "The Role of Agriculture in Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 160-164, May.
    39. 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.
    40. Rapp, Richard T., 1975. "The Unmaking of the Mediterranean Trade Hegemony: International Trade Rivalry and the Commercial Revolution," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 35(3), pages 499-525, September.
    41. Allen, Robert C., 1992. "Enclosure and the Yeoman: The Agricultural Development of the South Midlands 1450-1850," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198282969.
    42. Mokyr, Joel, 1977. "Demand vs. Supply in the Industrial Revolution," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 37(4), pages 981-1008, December.
    43. anonymous, 1956. "Interest rates during economic expansion," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Sep, pages 927-935.
    44. Patrick Karl O'Brien, 1996. "Path dependency, or why Britain became an industrialized and urbanized economy long before France," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 49(2), pages 213-249, May.
    45. Gollin, Douglas & Rogerson, Richard, 2014. "Productivity, transport costs and subsistence agriculture," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 38-48.
    46. Michael Kremer, 1993. "Population Growth and Technological Change: One Million B.C. to 1990," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(3), pages 681-716.
    47. Feinstein, Charles H., 1998. "Pessimism Perpetuated: Real Wages and the Standard of Living in Britain during and after the Industrial Revolution," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 58(3), pages 625-658, September.
    48. Oecd, 1999. "European Principles for Public Administration," SIGMA Papers 27, OECD Publishing.
    49. Vries,Jan de, 2008. "The Industrious Revolution," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521895026, October.
    50. Quinn, Stephen, 2001. "The Glorious Revolution'S Effect On English Private Finance: A Microhistory, 1680–1705," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 61(3), pages 593-615, September.
    51. Peter Earle, 1989. "The female labour market in London in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 42(3), pages 328-353, August.
    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. Zimmermann, Andrea & Heckelei, Thomas, 2012. "Differences of farm structural change across European regions," Discussion Papers 162879, University of Bonn, Institute for Food and Resource Economics.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Nico Voigtländer & Hans-Joachim Voth, 2006. "Why England? Demographic factors, structural change and physical capital accumulation during the Industrial Revolution," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 11(4), pages 319-361, December.
    2. Broadberry, Stephen & Ghosal, Sayantan & Proto, Eugenio, 2017. "Anonymity, efficiency wages and technological progress," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 379-394.
    3. Jakob B. Madsen & Fabrice Murtin, 2017. "British economic growth since 1270: the role of education," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 22(3), pages 229-272, September.
    4. Ho, Chi Pui, 2016. "Industrious Selection: Explaining Five Revolutions and Two Divergences in Eurasian Economic History within a Unified Growth Framework," MPRA Paper 73862, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Broadberry Stephen, 2012. "Recent Developments in the Theory of Very Long Run Growth: A Historical Appraisal," Jahrbuch für Wirtschaftsgeschichte / Economic History Yearbook, De Gruyter, vol. 53(1), pages 277-306, May.
    6. Herrendorf, Berthold & Rogerson, Richard & Valentinyi, Ákos, 2014. "Growth and Structural Transformation," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 6, pages 855-941, Elsevier.
    7. Chen, Chaoran, 2020. "Technology adoption, capital deepening, and international productivity differences," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 143(C).
    8. Yang, Dennis Tao & Zhu, Xiaodong, 2013. "Modernization of agriculture and long-term growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 367-382.
    9. C. Knick Harley, 2013. "British and European Industrialization," Oxford Economic and Social History Working Papers _111, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    10. Robert C. Allen, 2008. "A Review of Gregory Clark's A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(4), pages 946-973, December.
    11. Gray, Elie & Grimaud, André & Le Bris, David, 2018. "The Farmer, the Blue-collar, and the Monk: Understanding economic development through saturations of demands and non-homothetic productivity gains," TSE Working Papers 18-906, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
    12. Tepper, Alexander & Borowiecki, Karol Jan, 2015. "Accounting for breakout in Britain: The industrial revolution through a Malthusian lens," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 219-233.
    13. Koyama, Mark, 2012. "The transformation of labor supply in the pre-industrial world," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 505-523.
    14. Elie Gray & André Grimaud & David Le Bris, 2018. "The Farmer, the Blue-collar, and the Monk: Understanding Economic Development through Saturations of Demands and Non-Homothetic Productivity Gains," CESifo Working Paper Series 6970, CESifo.
    15. Chen, Chaoran, 2020. "Capital-skill complementarity, sectoral labor productivity, and structural transformation," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 116(C).
    16. Daniel Barbezat, 2011. "The Economic History of European Growth," Chapters, in: Gail M. Hoyt & KimMarie McGoldrick (ed.), International Handbook on Teaching and Learning Economics, chapter 51, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    17. Meissner, Christopher M., 2014. "Growth from Globalization? A View from the Very Long Run," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 8, pages 1033-1069, Elsevier.
    18. Madsen, Jakob B. & Robertson, Peter E. & Ye, Longfeng, 2019. "Malthus was right: Explaining a millennium of stagnation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 51-68.
    19. Berlingieri, Giuseppe, 2013. "Outsourcing and the rise in services," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 51532, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    20. Gallipoli, Giovanni & Makridis, Christos A., 2018. "Structural transformation and the rise of information technology," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 91-110.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

    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:fiu:wpaper:1508. 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: https://edirc.repec.org/data/defiuus.html .

    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 bibliographic 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.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Sheng Guo (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/defiuus.html .

    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.