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American Incomes before and after the Revolution

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  • Peter H. Lindert
  • Jeffrey G. Williamson

Abstract

Building social tables in the tradition of Gregory King, we develop new estimates suggesting that between 1774 and 1800 American incomes fell in real per capita terms. The colonial South was richer than the North at the start, but was already beginning to lose its income lead by 1800. We also find that free American colonists had much more equal incomes than did households in England and Wales. The colonists also had greater purchasing power than their English counterparts over all of the income ranks except in the top few percent.

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  • Peter H. Lindert & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2011. "American Incomes before and after the Revolution," NBER Working Papers 17211, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17211
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    1. Was the American Revolution an Economic Disaster?
      by andrewdsmith in The Past Speaks on 2011-07-15 13:19:13

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    JEL classification:

    • N11 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
    • N91 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence
    • O51 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - U.S.; Canada

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