IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/hhs/sdueko/2019_002.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Real wages, labour conditions and the standard of living in Denmark: 1500-1900

Author

Listed:

Abstract

It is well established that Denmark is one of the richest economies in the world nowadays with high living standards and wages. But what about earlier times? This paper makes three contributions: firstly, it creates and describes a new and rich data set on historical wage developments in Denmark, based on data gathered by the Danish Price History Project for the period 1660‐1800; secondly, it tests the traditional view of Denmark being very poor during that period by offering insight into eighteenth century Danish living standards; and thirdly, it tests whether the country followed the traditional story of the Little Divergence by constructing a long run real wage series for 1500‐1900. Comparing real wages across Europe, I find incomes in the countryside actually converged in the sixteenth century. In this context, Denmark moved from being poor, to an average income level, becoming rich only in the nineteenth century. An analysis of the eighteenth century shows that the value of the skill premium was higher than that of leading countries in Europe, but the gender wage gap tended to close towards the end. Married women in skilled occupations earned more than unmarried ones, but no difference was seen for unskilled occupations.

Suggested Citation

  • Radu, Cristina Victoria, 2019. "Real wages, labour conditions and the standard of living in Denmark: 1500-1900," Discussion Papers of Business and Economics 2/2019, University of Southern Denmark, Department of Business and Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:sdueko:2019_002
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.sdu.dk/-/media/files/om_sdu/institutter/ivoe/disc_papers/disc_2019/dpbe2_2019.pdf?la=da&hash=5936DFF66E4C0109412D8BEDE89D150F37261348
    File Function: Full text
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Lampe, Markus & Sharp, Paul, 2019. "A Land of Milk and Butter," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, number 9780226549507, Febrero.
    2. Humphries, Jane & Weisdorf, Jacob, 2014. "The Wages of Women in England, 1260-1850," CEPR Discussion Papers 9903, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Torben Dall Schmidt & Peter Sandholt Jensen & Amber Naz, 2018. "Agricultural productivity and economic development: the contribution of clover to structural transformation in Denmark," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 23(4), pages 387-426, December.
    4. repec:cge:wacage:2015 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Leonardo Ridolfi, 2017. "Six centuries of real wages in France from Louis IX to Napoleon III: 1250-1860," LEM Papers Series 2017/14, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    6. Humphries, Jane & Weisdorf, Jacob, 2015. "The Wages of Women in England, 1260–1850," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 75(2), pages 405-447, June.
    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. Alexandra M. de Pleijt & Jan Luiten van Zanden, 2018. "Two Worlds of Female Labour: Gender Wage Inequality in Western Europe, 1300-1800," Working Papers 0138, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    2. Kathryn E. Gary & Cristina Victoria Radu, 2019. "The impact of border changes and protectionism on real wages in early modern Scania," Working Papers 0166, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    3. Peter Sandholt Jensen & Cristina Victoria Radu & Battista Severgnini & Paul Sharp, 2018. "The introduction of serfdom and labour markets," Working Papers 0140, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).

    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. 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).
    2. Doepke, M. & Tertilt, M., 2016. "Families in Macroeconomics," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & Harald Uhlig (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 0, pages 1789-1891, Elsevier.
    3. Gary, Kathryn E. & Olsson, Mats, 2019. "Men at work: Real wages from annual and casual labour in southern Sweden 1500–1850," Lund Papers in Economic History 194, Lund University, Department of Economic History.
    4. 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).
    5. Giulia Mancini, 2018. "Women's Labor Force Participation in Italy, 1861-2011," Rivista di storia economica, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 1, pages 3-68.
    6. Alexandra M. de Pleijt, 2018. "Human capital formation in the long run: evidence from average years of schooling in England, 1300–1900," Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 12(1), pages 99-126, January.
    7. Nina Boberg-Fazlic & Markus Lampe & Pablo Martinelli Lasheras & Paul Sharp, 2020. "Winners and Losers from Enclosure: Evidence from Danish Land Inequality 1682-1895," Working Papers 0178, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    8. Judy Stephenson, 2018. "Looking for work? Or looking for workers? Days and hours of work in London construction in the eighteenth century," Oxford Economic and Social History Working Papers _162, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    9. Horrell, Sara & Humphries, Jane & Weisdorf, Jacob, 2020. "Life-cycle living standards of intact and disrupted English working families, 1260-1850," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 106986, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    10. Horrell, Sara & Humphries, Jane, 2019. "Children’s work and wages in Britain, 1280–1860," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 1-1.
    11. Mario García-Zúñiga & Ernesto López-Losa, 2019. "Building Workers in Madrid (1737-1805). New Wage Series and Working Lives," Working Papers 0152, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    12. Drelichman, Mauricio & González Agudo, David, 2020. "The Gender Wage Gap in Early Modern Toledo, 1550–1650," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 80(2), pages 351-385, June.
    13. Horrell, Sara & Humphries, Jane & Weisdorf, Jacob, 2020. "Malthus's missing women and children: demography and wages in historical perspective, England 1280-1850," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 129(C).
    14. Cormac Ó Gráda, 2019. "Economic History: «An Isthmus Joining Two Great Continents»?," Rivista di storia economica, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 1, pages 81-120.
    15. Gabriel Jover-Avellà & Antoni Mas-Forners & Ricard Soto-Company & Enric Tello, 2018. "Socioecological Transition in Land and Labour Exploitation in Mallorca: From Slavery to a Low-Wage Workforce, 1229–1576," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(1), pages 1-26, December.
    16. Rosolino A. Candela & Vincent J. Geloso, 2018. "The lightship in economics," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 176(3), pages 479-506, September.
    17. Robert C. Allen, 2017. "Class Structure and Inequality during the Industrial Revolution: Lessons from England’s Social Tables, 1688-1867," Working Papers 20170002, New York University Abu Dhabi, Department of Social Science, revised May 2017.
    18. Alexander Klein & Karl Gunnar Persson & Paul Sharp, 2020. "Populism and the First Wave of Globalization: Evidence from the 1892 US Presidential Election," Working Papers 0191, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    19. Cormac Ó Gráda, 2018. "The Next World and the New World: Relief, Migration, and the Great Irish Famine," Working Papers 201821, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    20. Peter Sandholt Jensen & Cristina Victoria Radu & Paul Sharp, 2019. "Days Worked and Seasonality Patterns of Work in Eighteenth Century Denmark," Working Papers 0162, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Little Divergence; Denmark; consumer price index; real wages; skill premium; gender gap; casual and full time workers; married/unmarried women; urban/rural workers; living standards;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General
    • J40 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - General
    • J80 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards - - - General
    • 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

    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:hhs:sdueko:2019_002. 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: (Lene Holbæk). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/okioudk.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 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.

    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.