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Neither So Low Nor So Short: Wages and Heights in Bourbon Spanish America from an International Comparative Perspective

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  • Rafael Dobado-Gonzáles

    () (Universidad Complutense)

  • Héctor García-Montero

    (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)

Abstract

This paper offers new quantitative evidence on living standards in Bourbon America through the study of wages and heights. Neither were wages low nor were heights short by the international standards of the period. Thus, living standards of the Spanish Americans compare favourably with those of other regions of the world, including Europe. As in many parts of the West, a trend towards deterioration of real wages is observed in Spanish America at the end of the period. Our findings suggest that the Great Divergence in living standards between Spanish America and the developed Western countries might have taken place mainly after the Independence.

Suggested Citation

  • Rafael Dobado-Gonzáles & Héctor García-Montero, 2012. "Neither So Low Nor So Short: Wages and Heights in Bourbon Spanish America from an International Comparative Perspective," Working Papers 0014, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
  • Handle: RePEc:hes:wpaper:0014
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Robert C. Allen & Jean-Pascal Bassino & Debin Ma & Christine Moll-Murata & Jan Luiten Van Zanden, 2011. "Wages, prices, and living standards in China, 1738–1925: in comparison with Europe, Japan, and India," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 64, pages 8-38, February.
    2. Baten, Jöerg & Carson, Scott, 2010. "Latin American anthropometrics, past and present--An overview," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 141-144, July.
    3. Broadberry,Stephen & O'Rourke,Kevin H., 2010. "The Cambridge Economic History of Modern Europe," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521708395.
    4. Francesco Cinnirella, 2008. "On the road to industrialization: nutritional status in Saxony, 1690–1850," Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 2(3), pages 229-257, October.
    5. Schubert, Hermann, 2011. "Anthropometric history of the French Revolution in the Province of Orleans," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 277-283, July.
    6. Komlos, John, 2003. "An anthropometric history of early-modern France," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 7(02), pages 159-189, August.
    7. Broadberry, Stephen N & Gupta, Bishnupriya, 2005. "The Early Modern Great Divergence: Wages, Prices and Economic Development in Europe and Asia, 1500-1800," CEPR Discussion Papers 4947, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. Margo, Robert A. & Steckel, Richard H., 1983. "Heights of Native-Born Whites During the Antebellum Period," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 43(01), pages 167-174, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Federico, Giovanni & Tena Junguito, Antonio, 2017. "Exports and American divergence. Lost decades and Emancipation collapse in Latin American and the Caribbean 1820-1870," IFCS - Working Papers in Economic History.WH 24208, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Instituto Figuerola.

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