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Pessimism Preserved: Real Wages in the British Industrial Revolution

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  • Robert Allen
  • Robert C. Allen

Abstract

The paper compares Feinstein`s and Clark`s consumer price and real wage indices for the British industrial revolution. The sources for their weights and component price series are evaluated. While some of Clark`s innovations are improvements, many of his changes degrade the price index. A new price index is developed using the best components of Clark`s and Feinstein`s. This index is much closer to Feinstein`s than to Clark`s. The implied growth in real wages is also close to Feinstein`s and contradicts Clark`s `optimistic` view of rising working class living standards during the industrial revolution.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert Allen & Robert C. Allen, 2007. "Pessimism Preserved: Real Wages in the British Industrial Revolution," Economics Series Working Papers 314, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:314
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. John Komlos, 1993. "The secular trend in the biological standard of living in the United Kingdom, 1730-1860," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 46(1), pages 115-144, February.
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    6. Feinstein, Charles H., 1998. "Pessimism Perpetuated: Real Wages and the Standard of Living in Britain during and after the Industrial Revolution," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 58(3), pages 625-658, September.
    7. Clark, Gregory, 1998. "Renting The Revolution," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 58(1), pages 206-210, March.
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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Real Wage; Consumer Price Index; Inequality; Industrial Revoution;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D33 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Factor Income Distribution
    • E25 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Aggregate Factor Income Distribution
    • N13 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models

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