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An Estimate Of Average Income And Inequality In Byzantium Around Year 1000

Author

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  • Branko Milanovic

    (World Bank; Carnegie Endowment)

Abstract

Using recent economic statistics from the peak period of Byzantine political and economic influence, we estimate the average income around the year 1000 to have been about 6 nomismata per capita per annum. This is then translated into current prices using two independent methods. They both yield an estimate around $PPP 640-720 in 1990 international prices. It is argued that this amount is some 20 percent below an average estimate of Roman incomes at the time of Augustus (around year one). Assuming that most of income differences in Byzantium were due to the differences in average incomes between social classes, we estimate the Gini coefficient to have been in the range between 40 and 45.

Suggested Citation

  • Branko Milanovic, 2005. "An Estimate Of Average Income And Inequality In Byzantium Around Year 1000," Economic History 0501003, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpeh:0501003
    Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 37
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    File URL: https://econwpa.ub.uni-muenchen.de/econ-wp/eh/papers/0501/0501003.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lopez, Robert Sabatino, 1951. "The Dollar of the Middle Ages," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(03), pages 209-234, June.
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    4. Goldsmith, Raymond W, 1984. "An Estimate of the Size and Structure of the National Product of the Early Roman Empire," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 30(3), pages 263-288, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Guido Alfani & Federico Tadei, 2017. "Income Inequality in Colonial Africa: Building Social Tables for Pre-Independence Central African Republic, Ivory Coast, and Senegal," Working Papers 594, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    2. María Gómez-León, 2015. "The Rise of the Middle Class, Brazil (1839-1950)," Working Papers 0091, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    3. Modalsli, Jørgen, 2011. "Inequality and growth in the very long run: inferring inequality from data on social groups," Memorandum 11/2011, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
    4. Alfani, Guido & Ryckbosch, Wouter, 2016. "Growing apart in early modern Europe? A comparison of inequality trends in Italy and the Low Countries, 1500–1800," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 143-153.
    5. Milanovic, Branko & Lindert, Peter & Williamson, Jeffrey, 2007. "Measuring Ancient Inequality," MPRA Paper 5388, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Serrano, Joaquín & Benzaquén, Ivana, 2017. "La frontera de posibilidades de desigualdad en América Latina," El Trimestre Económico, Fondo de Cultura Económica, vol. 0(334), pages .427-461, abril-jun.
    7. Jutta Bolt & Jan Luiten Zanden, 2014. "The Maddison Project: collaborative research on historical national accounts," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 67(3), pages 627-651, August.
    8. Guido Alfani & Wouter Ryckbosch, 2015. "Was there a ‘Little Convergence’ in inequality? Italy and the Low Countries compared, ca. 1500-1800," Working Papers 557, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    9. Persson, Karl Gunnar, 2008. "The Malthus delusion," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(02), pages 165-173, August.
    10. Jørgen Modalsli, 2015. "Inequality in the very long run: inferring inequality from data on social groups," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 13(2), pages 225-247, June.
    11. Gómez León, María, 2015. "The rise of the middle class : Brazil (1839-1950)," IFCS - Working Papers in Economic History.WH wp15-09, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Instituto Figuerola.
    12. Milanovic, Branko, 2011. "A short history of global inequality: The past two centuries," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 48(4), pages 494-506.
    13. Alberto Chilosi, 2010. "Poverty, Population, Inequality, and Development: the Historical Perspective," European Journal of Comparative Economics, Cattaneo University (LIUC), vol. 7(2), pages 469-501, December.
    14. Bolt, Jutta & Hillbom, Ellen, 2013. "Social Structures and Income Distribution in Colonial sub-Saharan Africa. The Case of Bechuanaland Protectorate 1936-1964," Lund Papers in Economic History 130, Lund University, Department of Economic History.
    15. Milanovic, Branko, 2009. "Global inequality and global inequality extraction ratio: The story of the last two centuries," MPRA Paper 16535, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. Milanovic, Branko, 2009. "Global inequality and the global inequality extraction ratio: the story of the past two centuries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5044, The World Bank.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • N30 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913

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