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Standards of Living and Skill Premia in Eighteenth Century Denmark: What can we learn from a large microlevel wage database?

Author

Listed:
  • Peter Sandholt Jensen

    (University of Southern Denmark)

  • Cristina Victoria Radu

    (University of Southern Denmark)

  • Paul Sharp

    (University of Southern Denmark, CAGE, CEPR)

Abstract

Granular microdata is of growing interest within economics and economic history. Thus, we document, present, and make available to the scholarly community a uniquely detailed database of 20,152 observations of wages and 30,000 observations of prices in rural Denmark for men, women and children, and for both skilled and unskilled workers over the eighteenth century. We the proceed to illustrate two potential applications. First, we construct nominal wages and deflate them using Allen’s constant consumer baskets. Real wages exhibit a considerable fall with the introduction of serfdom, and other changes consistent with known historical events. Second, we consider skill premia, finding no secular trends between skill categories, but considerable variation both within and between categories over time, suggesting that estimates based on simple averages should be interpreted with caution.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Sandholt Jensen & Cristina Victoria Radu & Paul Sharp, 2020. "Standards of Living and Skill Premia in Eighteenth Century Denmark: What can we learn from a large microlevel wage database?," Working Papers 0180, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
  • Handle: RePEc:hes:wpaper:0180
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    File URL: http://www.ehes.org/EHES_180.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Peter Sandholt Jensen & Maja Uhre Pedersen & Cristina Victoria Radu & Paul Richard Sharp, 2020. "Arresting the Sword of Damocles: Dating the Transition to the Post-Malthusian Era in Denmark," Working Papers 0182, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Denmark; microdata; prices; skill premia; wages;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N93 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - Europe: Pre-1913

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