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GDP per capita or Real Wages? Making sense of coflicting views on pre-industrial Europe

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  • Luis Angeles

Abstract

This paper studies the apparent inconsistency between the evolution of GDP per capita and real wages in pre-industrial Europe. We show that these two measures will diverge when any of the three following factors are present: changes in income distribution, changes in labour supply per capita and changes in relative prices. We propose a methodology for measuring the e¤ects of these three factors and apply it to the case of 18th century England. For this particular episode the gap between the growth of GDP per capita and real wages can be successfully explained and the main explanatory factor is changes in labour supply per capita. Some further conclusions are drawn from the experience of England during the 19th century and Europe during the early modern period.

Suggested Citation

  • Luis Angeles, 2007. "GDP per capita or Real Wages? Making sense of coflicting views on pre-industrial Europe," Working Papers 2007_11, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
  • Handle: RePEc:gla:glaewp:2007_11
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    1. 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.
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    10. 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.
    11. Angeles, Luis, 2008. "GDP per capita or real wages? Making sense of conflicting views on pre-industrial Europe," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 147-163, April.
    12. Hoffman, Philip T. & Jacks, David S. & Levin, Patricia A. & Lindert, Peter H., 2002. "Real Inequality In Europe Since 1500," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 62(02), pages 322-355, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Tirthankar Roy, 2012. "Consumption Of Cotton Cloth In India, 1795–1940," Australian Economic History Review, Economic History Society of Australia and New Zealand, vol. 52(1), pages 61-84, March.
    3. Broadberry, Stephen & Campbell, Bruce M.S. & van Leeuwen, Bas, 2013. "When did Britain industrialise? The sectoral distribution of the labour force and labour productivity in Britain, 1381–1851," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 16-27.
    4. Stephen Broadberry & Bruce Campbell & Alexander Klein & Mark Overton & Bas van Leeuwen, 2012. "British Economic Growth, 1270-1870: an output-based approach," Studies in Economics 1203, School of Economics, University of Kent.
    5. Van Leeuwen, Bas & van Leeuwen-Li, Jieli & Foldvari, Peter, 2012. "Education as a driver of income inequality in twentieth-century Africa," MPRA Paper 43574, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Mark Koyama, 2009. "The Price of Time and Labour Supply: From the Black Death to the Industrious Revolution," Economics Series Working Papers Number 78, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    7. Angeles, Luis, 2008. "GDP per capita or real wages? Making sense of conflicting views on pre-industrial Europe," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 147-163, April.
    8. Luis Angeles, 2013. "On the Causes of the A frican Slave Trade," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(1), pages 1-26, February.
    9. Mikolaj Malinowski, 2013. "East of Eden: Polish living standards in a European perspective, ca. 1500-1800," Working Papers 0043, Utrecht University, Centre for Global Economic History.

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