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1381 and the Malthus Delusion

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  • Clark, Gregory

Abstract

What were income trends before the Industrial Revolution? Clark (2007b) argued on both theoretical and empirical grounds that pre-industrial income was fluctuating but trendless, a position Gunner Persson has labeled “the Malthus Delusion.” Steve Broadberry and Bruce Campbell, in support of the Persson position, have recently estimated that English per capita income grew more than three-fold between 1270 and 1800. Here I use the Poll Tax returns to estimate income in 1379-81 from the farming share of employment. England in 1381, with only 55 percent of the population engaged in farming, was at income levels close to those of 1817.

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  • Clark, Gregory, 2010. "1381 and the Malthus Delusion," MPRA Paper 25466, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:25466
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Clark, Gregory, 2010. "The Consumer Revolution: Turning Point in Human History, or Statistical Artifact?," MPRA Paper 25467, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Robert C. Allen, 2008. "A Review of Gregory Clark's A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(4), pages 946-973, December.
    3. Broadberry,Stephen & Campbell,Bruce M. S. & Klein,Alexander & Overton,Mark & van Leeuwen,Bas, 2015. "British Economic Growth, 1270–1870," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107070783, January.
    4. Persson, Karl Gunnar, 2008. "The Malthus delusion," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(2), pages 165-173, August.
    5. Gregory Clark, 2009. "The Macroeconomic Aggregates for England, 1209-2008," Working Papers 919, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
    6. Broadberry, Stephen; Campbell, Bruce; Klein, Alexander; Overton, Mark; Van Leeuwen, Bas., 2010. "English Economic Growth: 1270 - 1870," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 35, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    7. Brock Smith & Gregory Clark & Joe Cummins, 2010. "The Surprising Wealth of Pre-industrial England," Working Papers 139, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
    8. Jan Luiten Van Zanden, 2002. "The ‘revolt of the early modernists’ and the ‘first modern economy’: an assessment," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 55(4), pages 619-641, November.
    9. Rodney Edvinsson & Johan Söderberg, 2011. "A Consumer Price Index For Sweden, 1290–2008," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 57(2), pages 270-292, June.
    10. Maddison, Angus, 2007. "Contours of the World Economy 1-2030 AD: Essays in Macro-Economic History," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199227204.
    11. Broadberry, Stephen & Campbell, Bruce M.S. & van Leeuwen, Bas, 2013. "When did Britain industrialise? The sectoral distribution of the labour force and labour productivity in Britain, 1381–1851," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 16-27.
    12. Gregory Clark & Michael Huberman & Peter H. Lindert, 1995. "A British food puzzle, 1770–1850," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 48(2), pages 215-237, May.
    13. Gregory Clark, 2007. "Introduction to A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World," Introductory Chapters, in: A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World, Princeton University Press.
    14. Clark, Gregory & Cummins, Joseph & Smith, Brock, 2012. "Malthus, Wages, and Preindustrial Growth," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 72(2), pages 364-392, May.
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    1. Pre-industrial revolution England did not grow, but was rich
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2010-11-03 19:56:00

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    Cited by:

    1. Rosenbloom, Joshua L. & Weiss, Thomas, 2014. "Economic growth in the Mid-Atlantic region: Conjectural estimates for 1720 to 1800," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 41-59.
    2. Morgan Kelly & Cormac Ó Gráda, 2012. "Agricultural output, calories and living standards in England before and during the Industrial Revolution," Working Papers 201212, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    3. Tepper, Alexander & Borowiecki, Karol Jan, 2015. "Accounting for breakout in Britain: The industrial revolution through a Malthusian lens," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 219-233.
    4. Parente, Stephen L. & Sáenz, Luis Felipe & Seim, Anna, 2019. "Income, Education and Democracy," Research Papers in Economics 2019:3, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
    5. Terpstra, Taco, 2020. "Roman technological progress in comparative context: The Roman Empire, Medieval Europe and Imperial China," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 75(C).
    6. Broadberry, Stephen & Campbell, Bruce M.S. & van Leeuwen, Bas, 2013. "When did Britain industrialise? The sectoral distribution of the labour force and labour productivity in Britain, 1381–1851," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 16-27.
    7. Brunt, Liam, 2015. "Weather shocks and English wheat yields, 1690–1871," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 50-58.
    8. Wallis, Patrick & Colson, Justin & Chilosi, David, 2016. "Puncturing the Malthus delusion: structural change in the British economy before the industrial revolution, 1500-1800," Economic History Working Papers 66816, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Long Run Growth England;

    JEL classification:

    • N1 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations
    • N3 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy
    • O4 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity

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