Pessimism Preserved: Real Wages in the British Industrial Revolution
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.
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