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The Surprising Wealth of Pre-industrial England

  • Clark, Gregory
  • Cummins, Joe
  • Smith, Brock

Occupations listed in wills reveal that as early as 1560 effectively only 60% of the English engaged in farming. Even by 1817, well into the Industrial Revolution, the equivalent primary share, once we count in food and raw material imports, was still 52%. By implication, incomes in pre-industrial England were close to those of 1800. Urbanization rates are not a good guide to pre-industrial income levels. Many rural workers were engaged in manufacturing, services and trade. The occupation shares also imply pre-industrial England was rich enough in 1560 to rank above the bottom fifth of countries in 2007.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 25468.

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Date of creation: 04 Jul 2010
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:25468
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  1. 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, 05.
  2. Maddison, Angus, 2007. "Contours of the World Economy 1-2030 AD: Essays in Macro-Economic History," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199227204.
  3. E. A. Wrigley, 2007. "English county populations in the later eighteenth century -super-1," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 60(1), pages 35-69, 02.
  4. Lindert, Peter H., 1980. "English Occupations, 1670–1811," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 40(04), pages 685-712, December.
  5. Clark, Gregory, 2010. "The Consumer Revolution: Turning Point in Human History, or Statistical Artifact?," MPRA Paper 25467, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. 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 946-73, December.
  7. Gregory Clark, 2009. "The Macroeconomic Aggregates for England, 1209-2008," Working Papers 919, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
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